Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe finally looks close to departing the club, as two Saudi Arabian clubs have opened negotiations to try and sign him.
The 28-year-old recently saw a move to Besiktas collapse, and was in limbo, with one year left on his deal and Mikel Arteta seemingly unwilling to reintegrate him into the squad.
Journalist Fabrice Hawkins has now revealed that an unnamed Saudi Arabian club is willing to pay a fee for Pepe, which will delight Arsenal.
“A Saudi club whose identity has not been filtered has positioned itself on Nicolas Pépé in recent hours,” he tweeted.
“Arsenal negotiate transfer fee. This is the hottest lead for the winger who has 1 year left on his contract. Pepe refused Besiktas who offered 3 years of contract.”
A report from L’Equipe has since claimed that one of the two Saudi Arabian clubs interested is Al-Fateh, with the other interested party still unknown.
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Arsenal have just a week left in the transfer window to find exit routes for a number of players, but things appear to be gathering pace.
Although Pepe is talented, his signing never truly worked out for both the player and the club, and he is now set to leave through the back door in what should be his prime years.
Arteta will find himself in a difficult position regarding Pepe if a move to one of the interested Saudi Arabian sides does not materialise. With one year remaining on his contract, an option could be to terminate his deal to save some money on his salary, as has been done with Mesut Ozil, Willian and Sokratis before.
Some considered reintegrating him into the squad as a backup for Bukayo Saka. Whilst Pepe has enough quality to be a reserve option, his failure to succeed at Arsenal was because he did not fit the system, and given that this is still the case, he is unlikely to find his best form at the Emirates again.
A departure suits all parties, and everyone will be hopeful that a move can be completed in the coming days.