Arsenal will not be able to convince Nicolas Pepe to join a Saudi club before the Pro League deadline on Thursday, but the focus is now on a move to Turkey.
That’s according to Fabrizio Romano, who has followed up on a recent scoop by Foot Mercato that the winger – who is said to be ‘completely out’ of the Arsenal project under Mikel Arteta – is now a target for Trabzonspor.
Since he is ‘not convinced’ by a move to Saudi Arabia, in Romano’s words, Pepe has now made joining Trabzonspor his ‘priority’. The transfer window in Turkey is open until September 15.
Pepe was previously linked with a move to Besiktas this summer, but their pursuit did not get to as advanced a stage as had been claimed.
Nevertheless, the Ivory Coast international could yet end up in the Super Lig with Trabzonspor, who have no European football on offer this season. Their squad also contains former Aston Villa forward Trezeguet, one-time Leicester defender Filip Benkovic, and Southampton flop Mislav Orsic.
Soon, Pepe should decide whether or not to join them as well. According to RMC Sport‘s Fabrice Hawkins, ‘advanced’ negotiations are underway for the transfer and his decision is imminent.
In order to facilitate the transfer, Arsenal have set an asking price between just €4m (£3.4m) and €5m (£4.3m) for their former record signing.
Arsenal give green light to Pepe sale
Romano has already confirmed that Arsenal will ‘give the green light’ for Pepe to leave, although he has not corroborated the figures.
A move to Trabzonspor will give Pepe a new experience after only playing for clubs in France either side of his spell with Arsenal.
He scored 27 goals from 112 appearances for the Gunners, who never felt they got value for money from their £72m investment despite his tallies being far from disastrous.
Into the last year of his contract at the Emirates Stadium, time has been ticking for Arsenal to find a solution for the 28-year-old. Now, Trabzonspor might just have the answers all parties have been looking for.