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Mikel Arteta drops transfer hint amid interest in Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe

nicolas pepe arsenal

Mikel Arteta has hinted that Nicolas Pepe could be on the move amid reports Ligue 1 outfit Nice are hoping to lure him back to France this summer.

The Ivorian has failed to make a serious impact in North London since Arsenal broke their transfer record to sign him from Lille for a whopping £72 million in the summer of 2019.

It didn’t take long for the excitement among the fans to diminish into thin air, as the winger struggled to justify his big-money move to England from France.

Pepe only started five games in the Premier League last campaign, playing just 951 minutes of football in all competitions. Mikel Arteta has been hesitant to field the Ivory Coast international, who appears to have run his race in North London.

This summer looks like the best time to part ways, especially when the Gunners are actively scouring the market for new wingers, to take them to a whole new level.

Foot Mercato reported recently that Nice are looking to bolster their attacking ranks and have identified Pepe to be the solution to their problem. The report states that the Les Aiglons hope to strike a deal with Arsenal to sign him on loan.

It is believed that a meeting between the French side and the player’s representatives has already taken place. Pepe is also thought to be open to a move to France, where he garnered the reputation of one of the most lethal wingers in world football.

Arteta hint

Speaking at his pre-match press conference today, Arteta heightened the speculation by suggesting that he has a big squad and will allow some players to leave. When asked specifically about Pepe’s links with Nice, Arteta told Arsenal.com:

on interest in Nicolas Pepe from Nice:

What we can communicate, we always do when it’s the right moment. We discussed that we have a big squad, we made some decisions and we allow some players [to leave]. Until the window is closed, everything is possible with any player.

In the 2018/19 campaign in Ligue 1, the 27-year-old scored an impressive 22 goals while also racking up 11 assists in 38 league appearances. Several clubs were interested in landing the Ivorian, but Arsenal beat off competition to sign him on a long-term deal.

And it’s safe to say that things haven’t gone the way the club would have planned, so a move back to France would suit all parties.

Arsenal are monitoring the situation of several wingers as they hope to plot a late move in the transfer window with Villareal’s Yeremy Pino, PSV’s Cody Gakpo and Wolves’ Pedro Neto all linked with a move recently.

Pepe’s departure might put the wheels in motion for a new winger to make a serious impact in North London, something Pepe would have dreamed of when he moved to England, three years ago.

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