Although Arsenal have been smart in the transfer market in recent years, the club are still paying the price for previous costly mistakes.
The club recently announced the contract termination of former record signing Nicolas Pepe, who cost £72m in 2019.
Although he had flashes of brilliance, it never really worked out for Pepe in an Arsenal shirt, and the winger has now joined Turkish side Trabzonspor following his exit from North London.
A report from the Evening Standard has now claimed that Arsenal still owe Lille £10m of the initial £72m fee agreed four years ago, and it highlights the failure of the transfer that the player has left for free before his transfer fee was even paid in full.
Whilst Arsenal will have saved some of his wages by terminating Pepe’s contract with one year still remaining, it is another example of poor selling by the club, who have previously terminated the contracts of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi, among others.
Arsenal’s inability to sell well
Pepe was not in Mikel Arteta’s plans from the start of the summer, and the player and club both actively looked for a buyer all summer.
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With Pepe frozen out of the squad, there was limited interest in the 28-year-old, and he subsequently left after the transfer window had closed.
Terminating contracts at a massive loss has been a key theme of Arsenal’s struggles to sell players in recent years, and it may even hamstring the ability to spend money.
Aubameyang, Pepe, Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette arrived for a combined fee of well over £200m over the years. Arsenal failed to earn a single penny from their departures.
Although there was little other choice but to terminate Pepe’s contract, such heavy losses are unsustainable in the long run, and it shows that Arsenal cannot afford to make another Pepe-like mistake in the transfer market.