Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has given his verdict on Nicolas Pepe’s current circumstances.
Speaking before Arsenal’s 2-0 pre-season defeat against Manchester United, Mikel Arteta opened up on Nicolas Pepe’s future at the Emirates Stadium.
On the subject of the Ivorian winger, the Spanish coach said, “at the moment he is recovering from an injury which is why he’s not here…he had a spell on loan and obviously we wanted to get much more than we got from that loan spell. We have to see when we come back, understand what the plans are and make the right decision for him,” as quoted by Metro.
Pepe clearly isn’t a part of Arteta’s plans. The likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, and Reiss Nelson are clearly ahead of him in the pecking order. Arteta would likely even deploy Leandro Troassard or Fabio Vieira on the right flank before considering Pepe.
What next for Nicolas Pepe?
The only possible plan for the 28-year-old can be to move him on this summer, ideally on a permanent basis. The 37-cap Ivory Coast international spent last season on loan with Nice, but struggled to recapture his best form in Ligue 1.
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The Gunners spent a then-club-record £72 million to sign Pepe in the summer of 2019. Since then, the player has undoubtedly failed to live up to his price tag. He has scored 27 times in 112 outings for Arsenal, but never looked comfortable in a high-energy, hard-pressing system, and his one-footedness made him all too predictable going forward.
Arsenal will do well to get any kind of fee for Pepe, but they have to get his wages off the books. Finding viable suitors could be a problem though.
The signing of Pepe was a high-profile failure made under the stewardship of the previous regime, and something that needs to be consigned to the history books.