Arsenal close to ending transfer NIGHTMARE – Fabrizio Romano

Tom Hancock
Tom Hancock
  • 2 Aug 2023 15:21 BST
  • 3 min read
Mikel Arteta, Arsenal
© ProShots

Nicolas Pepe’s Arsenal nightmare is almost over, as Besiktas close in on a deal for the Gunners’ one-time record signing.

The winger joined from Lille in 2019 for €80m (£72m) – the highest transfer fee Arsenal had ever paid until the recent £105m arrival of Declan Rice from West Ham.

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But there’s no denying that he has failed to live up to his huge price tag – with the Gunners loaning him out to Nice last season.

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And, while Nice opted against taking up their option to buy Pepe, he could soon be off Arsenal’s books for good.

Fabrizio Romano reports that Besiktas are ‘genuinely interested’ in the 28-year-old, with negotiations set to take place between the Gunners and the Turkish giants in an effort to complete a move.

Pepe has entered the final 12 months of his contract at the Emirates Stadium, and our in-house Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) model currently rates the Ivory Coast international at €10.8m (£9.3m).

Arsenal will no doubt push for a higher fee than that – but it’s fair to say they won’t recoup anything close to their original outlay four years ago.

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More frustration than thrill

Pepe came to Arsenal having averaged almost a goal every other game in his two seasons with Lille – but he has been considerably less potent for the Gunners, finding the net just 27 times in 112 appearances in all competitions.

There have been some highs – such as providing the assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s winner in the 2020 FA Cup final against Chelsea – but they have been few and far between.

Assuming he leaves, Pepe will depart Arsenal having frustrated fans far more than he ever thrilled them.

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