This month has seen a host of rumours surrounding Nicolas Pepe’s Arsenal future with the January transfer window fast approaching and his minutes in the first team diminishing.

Nicolas Pepe Arsenal future in doubt WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal during the Carabao Cup Second Round between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns on August 25, 2021 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Nicolas Pepe Arsenal future in doubt? WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND – AUGUST 25: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal during the Carabao Cup Second Round between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns on August 25, 2021 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Prior to the game against Newcastle, Pepe had played just five league minutes in the previous four games. That’s in stark contrast to the first five Premier League games of the season when he started and played the full 90 in four, missing out on the squad for the game against Manchester City when he was ill.

Since the game against Burnley on  18 September, however, Pepe has played the full 90 just once and has remained on the bench for four of Arsenal’s seven games.

Many have been speculating that Pepe’s time at Arsenal is now up. Not according to Mikel Arteta.

“No, and it is not the moment to talk about that either,” Arteta told reporters before the Newcastle game.

“We are interested in Nico performing at the level that he can do.

“He had some really good moments since I have been here, some moments where he hasn’t participated that much, like everybody else.”

He was also asked if Pepe had represented good value for money. “We will see in the next few seasons if he is capable of achieving what we expect from him. But that is a difficult answer, not only with him but with any player.

“You have seen players changing completely and, even during the season, having completely different performances that can reset.”

Newcastle United have been linked with a move for Pepe in what some are comparing to Manchester City’s spending spree when they were taken over.

That’s not something Arteta is worried about.

“I think players should stay at football clubs when they feel that they belong somewhere, when they feel important to it, when they feel value in every single aspect and when that’s the case normally players want to stay,” he said.

22/11/21

Italian report claims AC Milan want Nicolas Pepe Arsenal deal in January

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal reacts during the Carabao Cup Second Round between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns on August 25, 2021 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND – AUGUST 25: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal reacts during the Carabao Cup Second Round between West Bromwich Albion and Arsenal at The Hawthorns on August 25, 2021 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

AC Milan have reportedly joined a few Premier League clubs in showing an interest in agreeing a Nicolas Pepe Arsenal deal.

Il Milanista report that Milan boss Stefano Pioli wants to sign Nicolas Pepe in January.

The same outlet adds that the Arsenal hierarchy are willing to let Pepe go, and Milan could complete the signing for a figure of around €30m.

Goal report that Pepe’s future looks far from clear, though his wages of £140,000-a-week could prove a stumbling block to any potential buyers.

Goal also reference the recent speculation that a few Premier League clubs might be in the mix for the winger.

French outlet Jeunes Footeux claim Mikel Arteta no longer counts on Pepe, and Newcastle United, Everton, and Crystal Palace are all interested in the 26-year-old.

But the same outlet adds that none of the three are considering a permanent transfer upfront. They all want a loan with an option to buy.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28: Nicolas Pepe ofArsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Arsenal at The King Power Stadium on February 28, 2021 in Leicester, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)
LEICESTER, ENGLAND: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal reacts during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Arsenal at The King Power Stadium on February 28, 2021. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

According to Jeunes Footeux, Pepe’s form will give Arsenal “no other choice” but to accept a loan, something AC Milan are also said to be keen on.

Personally, I think this is all a bit over the top.

Even if Pepe has lost his starting spot, he’s still a regular on the pitch, making nine appearances so far this season, scoring once and assisting three times.

We’re not at the stage where Arsenal would be forced to accept any offers for the player. I’m not even convinced Arteta would want Pepe to leave in January.

The fixtures only get more important in the second half of the campaign, you don’t want to go into them without a strong backup in most positions.

Even when Pepe is in shaky form, as he has been lately, he still brings some goals and assists.

That’s not too common in the current squad.

18/11/21

3 Premier League clubs interested in Nicolas Pepe Arsenal deal

Nicolas Pepe left celebrates with team-mates after scoring their side s first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London. Picture date: Wednesday May 19, 2021. Copyright: Justin Setterfield
Nicolas Pepe left celebrates with team-mates after scoring their side’s first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London. Picture date: Wednesday, May 19, 2021. Copyright: Justin Setterfield

Three Premier League clubs are interested in taking Nicolas Pepe on loan in the January transfer window, according to a report.

French outlet Jeunes Footeux report that Mikel Arteta no longer counts on Nicolas Pepe, and several Premier League sides have come to the fore to enquire about him.

Newcastle United, Everton, and Crystal Palace are all reportedly interested in the 26-year-old.

None of the three are considering a permanent transfer upfront, but they all want a loan with an option to buy.

According to Jeunes Footeux, Pepe’s form will give Arsenal “no other choice” but to accept a loan.

Personally, I think this is all a bit over the top. Even if Pepe has lost his starting spot, he’s still a regular on the pitch, making nine appearances so far this season, scoring once and assisting three times.

We’re not at the stage where Arsenal would be forced to accept any offers for the player. I’m not even convinced Arteta would want Pepe to leave in January.

Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal celebrates scoring his sides opening goal during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture credit: David Klein / Sportimage
Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal celebrates scoring his side’s opening goal during a Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture credit: David Klein / Sportimage

The fixtures only get more important in the second half of the campaign, you don’t want to go into them without a strong backup in most positions.

If Pepe’s gone, I’m not sure Arsenal have a good alternative to Bukayo Saka anymore. Gabriel Martinelli would probably end up filling in, but he’s better on the left.

Even when Pepe is in shaky form, as he has been lately, he still brings some goals and assists. That’s not too common in the current squad.

My feeling is that Arsenal won’t make a move on Pepe’s future until the summer, when they can shop for replacements if necessary.

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