Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe and Besiktas have now agreed to the terms of a contract with the Ivory Coast international on the verge of a free transfer to the Super Lig giant.
That is according to Fanatik, which claims that Pepe’s agent has also promised Besiktas that Arsenal will allow a free transfer. The 28-year-old is now in the final year of his contract with the Gunners. Manager Mikel Arteta also does not intend to count on the winger this season.
Pepe has returned to Emirates Stadium to face a fraught future under Arteta after spending last term with OGC Nice. He moved to the Ligue 1 team on loan after falling out of favour in north London. But while the forward found a scoring touch, injuries also limited his impact.
Nicolas Pepe agrees to a three-year contract with Besiktas
Through the course of the campaign, Pepe recorded six goals and one assist from 19 games in France’s top-flight. Yet he only played three games from the end of January after suffering two long-term knee injuries. The winger only made a short-lived return at the end of March.
Given Pepe also now only has one year remaining on his £140k-a-week contract, Arsenal will let him negotiate a transfer. The 37-cap international’s agent has also promised Besiktas that the Gunners will let him leave for free. So, their talks are now nearing a positive resolution.
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Besiktas have offered Pepe a three-year contract worth a guaranteed €2.5m-a-year (£41k-a/w) to seal a move from Arsenal. He has also accepted the offer, which includes bonuses as well. Even though it sees Pepe take a £99k-a-week pay cut from his current wage at Arsenal.
Arsenal will also take a mammoth hit with a free transfer
The Black Eagles are now waiting for Pepe to finish negotiating a severance package to leave north London. Vodafone Stadium chiefs expect the forward’s agent to honour his promise of a freebie. It also sees Besiktas pip interest from Fenerbahce in Pepe’s transfer from Arsenal.
Arsenal are also taking a mammoth hit having signed Pepe for a club-record fee from LOSC Lille in August 2019. The Gunners paid the Ligue 1 team £72m to bolster their squad under Unai Emery. Although Arsenal only paid £20m upfront with the rest spread over five years.
In return, Arsenal signed a player who would only offer 27 goals and 21 assists in 112 games. Pepe, who Arteta called ‘phenomenal’ last August, further only offered 16 goals from his 80 Premier League appearances. He even only started 43 top-flight games for 4,304 minutes.