Arsenal are apparently willing to accept just £25m for Nicolas Pepe as Mikel Arteta looks to get rid of the club’s record signing.
Since he arrived, Mikel Arteta has set about clearing out nearly every player signed by Unai Emery.
By the end of this summer, it is likely that Kieran Tierney and Gabriel Martinelli will be the only players remaining unless Arteta decides to give William Saliba a chance.
I’ve long thought that the only reason Nicolas Pepe has lasted as long as he has under Arteta was because the club wanted to save face and had he cost, say around £35m, he would have been sold ages ago.
Now, it seems his time has come.
“It’s frustrating not to play,” Pepe told reporters recently.
“No player likes not to play, but I have to respect the coach’s decision.
“When a team wins, it’s hard for a coach to make changes.
“Mikel explained it to me and I know I have to work hard in training to get more playing time. The coach knows what I’m thinking and how hard I work.
“It is also a question of communication. Sometimes it is not easy to communicate with the language barrier . […] I am focused on our performances until the end of the season and on the club’s objective which is to reach the Champions League.
“Then we will see what happens.”
Turning 27 before the end of the season, Pepe has featured for just 880 minutes in this campaign with three goals and four assists, most of those coming in the League Cup where he has two goals and four assists in three games.
(To compare, that’s a goal or assist every 125 minutes compared to Lacazette’s goal or assist every 145)
In the Premier League, however, Pepe has scored one and assisted one, which is perhaps not really his fault given he hasn’t played the full 90 in the league since the game against Crystal Palace in October.
Pepe has started just five Premier League games this season and although he has started coming off the bench recently, after a run of games where he didn’t feature at all, he hasn’t played more than 21 minutes since that game in October, too.