Arsenal flop Nicolas Pepe set to join Nice on loan

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By Martin Graham | 25th Aug 2022

After weeks of uncertainty, Arsenal have reached an agreement with Nice to send Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe on loan in a season-long deal.

Pepe never caught the eye at Arsenal

Nicolas Pepe joined Arsenal with a huge reputation on his shoulders in the summer of 2019. The Gunners coughed out a record £72m to sign the Ivorian forward after a stellar campaign with Lille at the time.

Pepe was identified as the player to take Arsenal’s attack to the next level but it has not been anything close to that. Fast forward to the present and the 27-year-old is now best described as an ‘Arsenal flop’.

Since making his debut, Pepe has managed just 27 goals in 112 total appearances for Arsenal. He has dropped down the pecking order under Mikel Arteta, starting just five Premier League games last season and failing to register any minutes this term.

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The Gunners remain keen on signing a new right winger this summer and Wolves’ Pedro Neto is the latest on their radar. However, they need to offload Pepe to make room for any new signing and a new development is on the cards regarding that.

Loan deal to Nice agreed

As per football transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Ligue 1’s Nice have struck a deal to sign Pepe on loan for the coming year. Surprisingly, the move will not include an option to buy.

There are still some minor details left to finalize but they are not expected to prove problematic and Pepe is expected in France imminently to put pen to paper on a 12-month deal. A deal could be completed on Sunday if all things go as planned.

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Deal makes sense for all parties involved
There was no point keeping a player who was no longer in Mikel Arteta’s plans. For a player who took home £140,000-per-week, it was a huge loss to keep him on the bench week in and week out.

We already detailed that Arsenal would need to cut their losses on the Ivorian and it appears they have done just that.

Pepe’s departure could mean the Gunners are plotting one last move to bring in a winger before the window ends and the prospects have gotten fans excited. The club’s interest in Neto looks genuine but it remains to be seen if they will go all out for the Portuguese.

Pepe was happy to reduce his wages to allow the loan move to Nice go through, showing that he wants to play football as well over anything. In the end, it is a deal that works out well for all parties involved.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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