When club record signing Nicolas Pepe returns across the English Channel on loan for the next season, it will be Arsenal’s eighth departure of the summer.
Pablo Mari, Nuno Tavares, Folarin Balogun, and Runar Alex Runarsson have all left the club on loan this summer, and Lucas Torreira and Bernd Leno have been sold. After his contract expired at the start of July, Alexandre Lacazette also decided to leave the club.
It appears that Ivorian Nicolas Pepe will be the next man to leave, putting an end, at least temporarily, to his miserable time in north London. Despite earlier rumors, the winger will join French club OGC Nice on loan without an option to buy. Former Arsenal player Aaron Ramsey has already joined the French club this summer.
The Athletic states, “There is still work to be done, but it is hoped that Pepe’s temporary transfer will be finalised in the coming days.”
It is hoped that Pepe will be available for Nice’s Sunday match against Marseille despite taking a pay cut from his £140,000 weekly contract to make the move possible.
Unai Emery, who managed the club when Pepe was brought in for £72 million in 2019, admitted that the winger was not his first choice and that he would have preferred to sign Wilfried Zaha instead. Pepe has failed to live up to the expectations that surrounded him at the Emirates Stadium.
He only played 681 minutes in the Premier League last year and has yet to make an appearance for the Gunners in any of their first three games this season. The Ivorian scored 27 times in 112 games for his north London club in all competitions.
New ones on the way?
Although Pedro Neto of Wolverhampton Wanderers has been linked with a move to Arsenal, a transfer looks unlikely given the club’s anticipated unwillingness to trade a player under contract until 2027.
According to David Ornstein, “Mikel Arteta’s side remain in the market and open to opportunities ahead of the September 1 deadline, but at this stage they are not close to any incoming business,” suggesting that a deal for either Arteta or another long-term target, Youri Tielemans, will not be finalized until the very last few days of the transfer window.
As a result of Pepe’s departure, though, we now have an extra spot in the squad for any potential new recruits.