Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe was the subject of interest from a couple of Ligue 1 clubs in January, and they could return for him in the summer.

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

L’Equipe (via Sport Witness) claim Olympique Lyonnais and Olympique de Marseille both planned to try and bring Nicolas Pepe back to Ligue 1 in January.

They each explored the possibility, but they ultimately found the door was closed to a transfer in the winter window.

L’Equipe suggest that unless Pepe’s sporting situation at Arsenal changes before the summer, he’s likely to be on the market at that stage. Lyon and Marseille could then make their move for him.

After his participation with the Ivory Coast at AFCON ended in a knockout stage defeat to Egypt, Pepe rejoined the Arsenal squad in Dubai for the current warm-weather training camp.

Despite some late rumours, it never seemed likely Arsenal were going to let Pepe go at that stage. He’s the primary alternative to Bukayo Saka on the right, and the Gunners are likely to need his goals at some stage.

Nicolas Pepe with the Man of the Match award
Nicolas Pepe with the Man of the Match award

Pepe has scored two goals and assisted five in all club competitions this season, a goal or assist every 110 minutes. Admittedly, the vast majority of those goal contributions came against lower league opponents in the League Cup.

In the Premier League, Pepe hasn’t started a game since he faced Crystal Palace in October.

The hope is that Pepe’s AFCON participation has got him back on track and firing again. He scored twice and assisted once in his three starts at the event, and he was one of his country’s standout players.

For the next few months, his full focus has to be on maximising his performances back on the pitch with Arsenal.

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