Turkish giants Besiktas and Fenerbahce are now battling it out to sign Nicolas Pepe, who will be allowed to depart the Emirates this summer.

That’s according to a report from CNNTURK, which has stated that Pepe has an agreement with Besiktas, and Mikel Arteta is happy to let the player leave for free. Fenerbahce are also interested, and may look to hijack the deal.

Pepe has one year left on his contract and will be allowed to leave permanently, rather than on loan. Arteta has seemingly promised Pepe that he could go without a transfer fee, with Arsenal keen to get his heavy salary off the wage bill, and Besiktas expect the Gunners to fulfil this promise.

Fenerbahce President Ali Koc has also contacted Pepe, and it remains to be seen where he chooses as his next destination between the two clubs. However, there may be a snag in the deal.

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Ryan Taylor has now reported that whilst the club are happy to let Pepe leave, they will not agree to a free transfer and will instead hold out for a fee. This may be greeted with some annoyance by Besiktas, and they may even move onto alternate targets if they cannot agree a free transfer.

Pepe’s failed chance

Towards the end of the 2020-21 season, things were finally starting to look up for Pepe, who had initially struggled following his record-breaking move from Lille. He finished the campaign as Arsenal’s top scorer with 16 strikes in all competitions and looked ready to kick on.

Arsenal Training Session
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

However, he lost his place after a poor start to the 2021-22 season, and the sensational form of Bukayo Saka meant he hardly got a look in, finishing the season with just two goals in all competitions.

He was loaned to Nice, with the winger no longer considered part of Mikel Arteta’s plans, and his time appears to be over at the Emirates. He is clearly talented, but both he and the club have failed to harness that talent, and a separation with a huge financial loss for Arsenal is now the only outcome this summer.

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