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Nicolas Pepe: Clock Ticking at Arsenal

Arsenal’s Dilemma: What’s Next for Nicolas Pepe?

The £72m Enigma

Nicolas Pepe, the Ivorian who became Arsenal’s record signing back in 2019, has been shrouded in a mist of what-ifs and almosts. The skilful winger arrived at the Emirates Stadium with a hefty £72m price tag from Lille and was expected to be a game-changer. Alas, with a record of just 16 goals in 80 Premier League appearances, he has only managed to display intermittent flashes of brilliance.

Back from Nice, But For How Long?

After spending the 2022/23 season on loan at Nice, the 28-year-old Pepe is on the verge of a precipice. He has a year left on his contract, and Arsenal are desperately searching for buyers. His stint in France was commendable, netting 8 times in 28 appearances, but Nice announced it was the “end of the Nice adventure” for Pepe.

Arsenal’s Conundrum

With Pepe’s wages weighing heavily, Arsenal face a potential quandary. Do they let him see out his contract, or do they seek a parting of ways before the summer window slams shut? The Gunners hope to avoid a contract termination, and are eager to recoup even a nominal transfer fee for a player that once brought boundless excitement.

Out with the Old?

Pepe forms part of an increasingly scarce group at Arsenal, the pre-Arteta signings. Alongside him stand Kieran Tierney, William Saliba, Rob Holding, Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka, and Gabriel Martinelli. But the winds of change are afoot in North London, with Tierney catching the eyes of Newcastle United and Aston Villa, and Xhaka poised for a £13 million move to Bayer Leverkusen. Pepe too is expected to bid adieu, and Holding could be joining the exodus.

Arteta’s War Chest and The Future

Meanwhile, the transfer mill is abuzz as Arsenal is on the cusp of making a statement signing. Pepe’s status as the club’s most expensive acquisition is set to be eclipsed by West Ham’s talisman, Declan Rice. Arsenal and West Ham are inching towards an accord for the formidable 24-year-old who has been the apple of Arteta and sporting director Edu’s eyes for months. The Gunners are also understood to be contemplating a swoop for Brighton’s prodigious midfielder, Moises Caicedo.

The North London outfit isn’t just stopping there; bolstering the defence is high on the priority list, with particular focus on centre-back and right-back positions.

Reported by The Telegraph, Arsenal’s pursuit to revamp and bolster their squad, with the spotlight on Pepe’s future, could see this transfer window being one of the most pivotal moments in the club’s recent history. The uncertainty surrounding Pepe’s Arsenal future epitomises the sense of transition engulfing the Emirates. Will Pepe’s chapter in Arsenal’s illustrious book come to a close, or is there another twist in the tale? Only time will tell.

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