Premier League • England

Ligue 1 duo confident of luring Arsenal star to France after Gunners’ deadline day admission

Nicolas Pepe, Mohamed Elneny Arsenal v West Brom May 2021

Lyon and Marseille still have hope of signing Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe after failing to secure a deal in January, a report has claimed.

The Ivory Coast international has largely proved a regular feature in the Gunners’ team following his 2019 move from Lille. Nevertheless, Arsenal’s record, £72million signing has struggled to show consistent form.

He played in 31 and 29 Premier League games, respectively, in his first two seasons for Arsenal. This term, though, he has only managed nine league outings, remaining on the bench for 10 matches.

As such, reports claimed that the north London club were willing to let him leave on loan before Monday’s transfer deadline.

Indeed, clubs in Spain supposedly showed interest in a late swoop for Pepe.

According to L’Equipe (via Sport Witness), though, a move to France was another potential route for the 26-year-old.

Lyon and Marseille both reportedly came forward with proposals to bring Pepe back to France. However, both attempts failed and the player subsequently stayed put.

Nevertheless, Pepe’s situation at Arsenal remains unclear heading firmly into the second part of the season.

Arsenal have to sell Pepe for whatever they can

Arsenal have to sell Pepe for whatever they can

Paul Merson has urged Arsenal to move on from Pepe as flop hasn’t lived up to the price tag

He only featured for 19 Premier League minutes in between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang becoming frozen out and him going on Africa Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast.

As such, he did not have too much influence on the team even when boss Mikel Arteta cut his options.

Therefore, it remains unclear if he can have a greater effect on the team now that Aubameyang has left for Barcelona.

Should his situation remain the same, though, Lyon and Marseille reportedly feel they can seal a deal for Pepe at the end of the season.

He will have only two years left on his contract by then. As a result, Arsenal face a decision over his future soon in any case.

Nicolas Pepe urged to leave Arsenal

Nicolas Pepe celebrates scoring for Arsenal

Back in December, former Arsenal man Paul Merson urged Pepe to leave Arsenal.

The pundit said: “Years ago, when you got bought for a lorry load of money, the pressure was on. In this day and age, you can flop and no one says a word.

“Managers would lose their jobs on a big signing, that doesn’t happen anymore.

“They’ll probably sell him for 20-30m and lose 30-40m on him, and no one will say a dickie bird.

“It’s all about attitude. You’re playing at Arsenal, that pitch is mustard.”

Arsenal return to action next Thursday when facing Wolves in the Premier League.