Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe has “no future” in north London and will be gone “soon” says Gunners insider Charles Watts, and a contract termination could well be on the cards if no acceptable bid emerges soon.
Up until the £105m arrival of Declan Rice, Pepe remained Arsenal’s most expensive buy in the transfer market.
The Ivory Coast international, 28, cost a club-record £72m to pluck from Lille back in 2019. While his first two seasons were far from the disasters many make out, the following two have done little to help the Gunners.
Pepe notched just one goal in 20 Premier League appearances during the 2021/22 campaign. He spent last season back in France while loaned to Nice.
Pepe was recently left out of Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the United States. With just one year remaining on his deal, the time is now to cash in on a player who hasn’t come close to justifying his price tag.
But speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, Arsenal insider, Charles Watts, stated seeing Pepe’s contract terminated this summer should not come as a surprise.
Per Watts, Arsenal’s dream scenario would see a cash-rich Saudi Arabian side come in for Pepe and this week there have been reports of interest from the Saudi Pro League.
Failing that, interest will be thin on the ground and severing ties one year early is not out of the question. Indeed, Arsenal chief Edu has shown a willingness to terminate unwanted players’ contracts in the recent past.
“It’s a really difficult one at the moment,” said Watts. “He’s not even with the squad and we’re not quite sure why at the moment.
“He did have a few injury issues at Nice. It might just be purely down to injury, but it feels like it could well be more than that. Nicolas Pepe has got no future at Arsenal, that’s not a secret.
“He’s got one year left on his contract and he’s not part of Arsenal’s plans. It’s very, very clear.”
Pepe next after Kolasinac, Mustafi, Ozil and Aubameyang?
“He’s still a very good player but it’s just not worked out for him at Arsenal,” continued Watts.
“He’s on such high wages; they’ve ended up cancelling contracts with a lot of those big name players from that era at the club. Pepe is probably the last of them who they haven’t managed to deal with.
“[Sead] Kolasinac, [Shkodran] Mustafi, as well as [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil. They’ve shown they can be ruthless.
“Edu’s talked about it before. He’d much rather cancel a contract than have someone on big wages just sitting around for a season because he says that does a squad no good at all. He’s gone on record as saying that.
“It would not surprise me if that happened which seems remarkable when you think this is Arsenal’s club-record signing, a £72m signing.
“It would not surprise me at all, if they can’t manage to get a deal done for him and someone doesn’t come in for him, that ends up being the route they go down.
“We’ll have to wait and see but I think Arsenal, from their point of view, they would love someone from Saudi Arabia becoming interested in Pepe.
“We shall wait and see what happens but one thing’s for sure: he’s got no long term future at Arsenal. He’ll certainly be gone soon. He’s one of the highest earners, probably in the top five.”