Arteta reveals Pepe plan for Arsenal

Stuart Telford
Stuart Telford
  • 23 Jul 2023 09:53 BST
  • 3 min read
Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal
© ProShots

Mikel Arteta hasn't included Nicolas Pepe in Arsenal's squad for their pre-season tour of the USA, as speculation swirls around the future of the club's former record transfer.

Pepe joined Arsenal from Lille for €79 million in 2019, which was Arsenal's record signing until the recent £105m (€121m) acquisition of Declan Rice from West Ham.

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After a positive start to his Arsenal career, Pepe gradually fell behind academy crown jewel Bukayo Saka in the pecking order and was allowed to leave on loan to Nice last summer.

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Although he hit six goals and an assist in 19 games back in Ligue 1, Nice decided not to make his loan deal permanent and Pepe arrive back in North London carrying a knee injury and with one year still to run on his contract.

Pepe on a free?

Although there are reports that Arsenal will consider releasing the winger on a free transfer this summer, Arteta insists that the player's injury is why he is not with the squad in the United Stated this summer.

"At the moment he's recovering from an injury, that's why he's not here," said the Spaniard. "He had a spell on loan and we wanted to get more from that loan spell. We'll have to see when he comes back, have a chat with him, understand what he plans are and make a decision."

READ: Arsenal to sell SIX players to fund Kudus transfer

As well as Saka, Arsenal now have Gabriel Martinelli, Leandro Trossard and Reiss Nelson competing for the wide attacking berths, and a departure is most likely to suit all parties.

Pepe is now valued at €10.8m by FootballTransfers' in-house algorithm. Leeds and Leicester were both credited with an interest in him last summer, but having been relegated, are perhaps unlikely to complete a move now.

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