Pepe breaks silence on Arsenal treatment

Stuart Telford
Stuart Telford
  • 31 Mar 2023 21:21 BST
  • 3 min read
Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal

Arsenal's record signing Nicolas Pepe is currently out on loan with Nice in Ligue 1, but he feels he could have been succeeding in the Premier League instead.

Pepe joined Arsenal from Lille for €80 million in the summer of 2019 having hit 22 goals and 11 assists from 38 games in his final Ligue 1 season with the club.

Whilst he never scaled quite the same heights in England, 10 goals from 29 games in his second Premier League season was still an impressive return for a player who tends to line up on the right wing.

READ: Arsenal to axe SEVEN first-teamers including record signing

Pepe's production went off a cliff last term, though - one goal and two assists from 20 top-flight appearances - and Mikel Arteta sanctioned his loan to Nice at the start of this season.

There is no option to buy in the existing deal, although that doesn't mean the team owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe won't try at the end of the current campaign.

Pepe: 'I could have been important' at Arsenal

"I'm very happy at Nice, and there are still two important months left for the club," Pepe told radio station France Bleu Azur. "I want to focus on the next two months and for the rest I don't know.

READ: How much will Nicolas Pepe cost Arsenal in total?

"There will be discussions. I don't know what Arsenal want to do. I still have a lot of friends there. I could have been important for this club, but it's the manager's choice."

Pepe is out of contract at the Emirates at the end of the season, meaning Pepe, a player now valued at €13.6 million by FootballTransfers' in-house algorithm, will be available on a free from 30 June.

Bukayo Saka's rise hasn't helped his cause in North London. Also a left-footed right winger, the England international has emerged as a bona fide star at the Emirates, and this season has 12 goals and 10 assists to his name as Arsenal top the Premier League.