Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is now willing to make a huge decision on the future of Nicolas Pepe after he returned to Emirates Stadium from a season-long loan transfer.

That is according to the Daily Mail, which reports that Arteta is now willing to tear up Pepe’s contract with Arsenal. The Spaniard hopes that Gunners sporting director Edu can agree to a transfer for the 28-year-old. But if push comes to shove, he is ready to force the forward out.

Pepe only has one year remaining on the £140k-a-week contract he signed to join Arsenal in August 2019. He became the Emirates Stadium natives’ record signing in a deal worth £72m. Arsenal completed the transfer once LOSC Lille accepted only £20m as the initial instalment.

Arsenal Training Session
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Why Pele Is Overrated.

Arteta is ready to terminate Pepe’s contract with Arsenal

Arsenal still owe Lille a percentage of their once-club record fee having spread the remaining £52m over Pepe’s five-year contract. But he has never looked like justifying the amount they paid to land the winger for former manager Unai Emery after a goal-laden Ligue 1 campaign.

Now, Arteta has made it clear to Arsenal that he wants Pepe gone in a permanent transfer in this window. The Gunners boss also emphasised his stance by excluding the Ivory Coast ace from their pre-season tour of the USA. He remained working on his fitness at London Colney.

Arsenal Training Session
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Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma have shown a tentative interest in a possible transfer from Arsenal for Pepe this summer. But should Edu fail to agree on terms with a potential suitor, Arteta is prepared to terminate his contract. He wants Pepe to leave Arsenal this summer at any cost.

Arsenal have shown they will back Arteta without transfers

Arsenal have already shown they are also prepared to support Arteta by tearing up contracts if it’s required. The Gunners have released or paid off Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sead Kolasinac, Willian and Hector Bellerin.

Arsenal on Pre-Season Tour to the USA
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Pepe could now become the next name on Arteta’s termination list if Arsenal cannot secure him a transfer. The forward returned to north London this summer from an injury-hit loan at OGC Nice. He only played 28 games but scored eight goals and laid on an assist in 2022/23.

Six of Pepe’s goals came from 19 appearances in Ligue 1 having missed 16 of Nice’s fixtures. It was also his efforts in Ligue 1 that convinced Arsenal to secure Pepe’s transfer from Lille in 2019. He scored 22 and assisted 11 goals over the previous season through 38 appearances.

Yet nine of Pepe’s 22 goals in the 2018/19 Ligue 1 season were penalties. He has also only hit 27 and assisted 21 in 112 games in all competitions for Arsenal. So, Arteta – who called Pepe ‘phenomenal’ last August – is determined to cut Arsenal’s losses during this transfer window.

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