Arsenal attacker Nicolas Pepe finally looks set to leave the club after months of uncertainty, with a deal now edging closer.
Journalist Santi Aouna has now claimed that the 28-year-old is close to agreeing a one-year deal with Trabzonspor in Turkey, after links with Besiktas and clubs in Saudi Arabia.
The player has been training separately from the rest of the squad, and will follow Rob Holding, Kieran Tierney, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga out the door, with these players leaving in the final few days of the transfer window.
“Trabzonspor is trying to conclude the deal of Nicolas Pepe from Arsenal,” Aouna tweeted.
“The player could sign for one year.”
Why is there such little interest in Pepe?
Given that the Ivory Coast international cost £72m four years ago, many have questioned why Arsenal have struggled to sell him even for a low fee.
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Although it did not work out for him in North London, he still notched up 48 goals and assists, and despite not fitting Arsenal’s style of play, he is a good player who can make his mark elsewhere.
Mikel Arteta once described him as “phenomenal,” and looking at some of the other players who have moved to Turkey or Saudi Arabia, Pepe could prove to be an excellent signing even for some Premier League sides.
The biggest factor in the lack of interest in him appears to be his wages, with Pepe’s £140k-per-week salary proving a stumbling block for any clubs actually interested in him.
With Arsenal seemingly prepared to accept a minimal transfer fee for him, many have wondered why clubs such as Crystal Palace or Brentford, who thrive with counter-attacking wingers, have not considered a move for him, and perhaps they have missed a trick by not gambling on the former Lille forward.