Nicolas Pepe’s contract may be ripped up by Arsenal if they are unable to sell the Ivory Coast attacker during the current transfer window, according to reports.
Since being acquired by the Gunners in a world record move from Lille in the summer of 2019, the 28 years old has fallen short of his £72 million price tag. Unai Emery was the manager at the time.
Pepe was granted the go ahead to join Nice in Ligue 1 for the 2022/23 season since the rise of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Gabriel Martinelli limited his opportunity to play.
The Ivorian was plagued by injuries and only started 17 Ligue 1 games despite having a decent eight goals in 28 appearances for Les Aiglons in all competitions.
— Ligue 1 English (@Ligue1_ENG) June 9, 2023
Pepe is ready to return to Arsenal for preseason training, but his contract only lasts through the end of the following season because his agreement with Nice did not include an option or obligation to make his stay permanent.
Pepe, 28, appears to have no future in North London after Arsenal managed to advance to the Champions League without him in the lineup. According to The Telegraph, the Gunners will reportedly try to offload him before the 2023/24 season.
Nice has already stated that they will not be keeping the attacker on their roster, but it is reported that Arsenal is hoping to receive offers in the upcoming weeks.
The Gunners are prepared to suffer a significant penalty on the £72 million they paid for Pepe in 2019, but the Ivory Coast international’s contract might be terminated in the event that no appropriate offers are received.
However, considering that Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Arsenal careers came to an end in that fashion, such a situation will only be considered as a last choice.
Pepe has scored 27 goals and provided 21 assists in 112 games for the Gunners, winning the FA Cup in his first season with the club. Pepe will score at least ten goals in the 2020/21 Premier League season.
Arteta wanted to see a “different” Pepe for the second half of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations after having a direct hand in three goals two of his own and one assist.
Pepe scored just once in the 2021/22 Premier League season, and as the Gunners work to finalize a deal with West Ham United for Declan Rice, it is improbable that he will still be Arsenal’s most expensive player at the end of the summer.
According to reports, Arsenal are close to agreeing a fee with West Ham for Declan Rice and are expected to pay more than £100m for the midfielder if certain add-ons are achieved 📰
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) June 13, 2023
As much as £100 million, including add-ons, might be spent by Arteta’s team to get Rice to the Emirates, where he could take the position of Granit Xhaka before the latter’s anticipated £13 million transfer to Bayer Leverkusen.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has already announced that he will leave Arsenal this summer on a free transfer, while Charlie Patino is rumored to be leaving as well. Xhaka and Pepe are just two of the Arsenal players that could be let go this summer.
Folarin Balogun, Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney, Rob Holding, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Alex Runarsson, Auston Trusty, and Cedric Soares are all being connected with departures, with the exception of Soares, who is allegedly motivated to stay and fight for his position in North London.