Arsenal recently terminated another contract as former record signing Nicolas Pepe departed the club, much to the frustration of supporters at yet another poor sale.
Fabrizio Romano has now explained, in his Daily Briefing, what difficulties Arsenal had in selling Pepe this summer, given a lack of suitors for the 28-year-old.
“Ideally, I’m sure Arsenal would have liked to bring in a fee for Pepe, who was their record signing back in 2019, but in the end his contract was terminated by the club, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen them take this decision since Mikel Arteta became manager, with other big names like Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also leaving in the same way,” he stated.
“I think in some cases it’s the only way to move on and let the player try different experience, while the club can also save money by removing these players’ big wages… of course it’s not an ideal solution from a financial point of view, but in some cases, like this one, there was no other way for Arsenal.”
Are Arteta’s methods harming sales?
Contract terminations have been a theme under Arteta since his arrival in 2019. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Sead Kolasinac, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Sokratis and Willian have all had their deals terminated at some expense, whilst Arsenal did not recoup a single penny from them.
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In all of these cases, the player was not part of the first team, and therefore not in the shop window attracting suitors. In the cases of Ozil, Sokratis and Aubameyang, their omission from the squad meant that Arsenal had to desperately cut ties or risk being stuck with them.
Whilst Arteta’s ruthlessness has helped bid the quality young squad Arsenal are currently competing with, his cut-throat method of freezing players out completely, and reducing their transfer value, is something the club may not consider sustainable in the long run.
None of the players who had their contracts terminated went on to be highly successful elsewhere, which may explain the lack of offers received, but Arsenal will hope that now most of the deadwood within the squad is gone, any departures going forward can attract high transfer fees.