Thursday, October 6, 2022

Arsenal Prepared To Cash In On This Talented Winger In January: Should Arteta Cut Him Loose?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, The Daily Star has mentioned that Arsenal are prepared to cash in on Nicolas Pepe in January. It is believed that the Gunners could sanction the Ivorian winger’s departure if the right offer comes in for him during the winter transfer window (via The Daily Star).

Pepe’s Form At North London This Season

The former Ligue 1 talent has shown some promising signs for Mikel Arteta’s side so far this season but is still far from being consistent week in week out. Pepe has registered four goals and two assists in 14 matches for the North London outfit this term in multiple competitions.

The 25-year-old has struggled to give a good account of himself in the Premier League but has caught the eye in Europe where he is averaging 4.3 shots, 3.0 key passes and 3.0 dribbles per 90 minutes in the UEFA Europa League group stages. He has even been tidy with his ball-distribution after completing 83.6% of his attempted passes in European football (stats via whoscored).

The French-born wide player has endured an underwhelming spell at Arsenal but has shown a few signs of growth over the past couple of months, especially in the four European matches he has featured thus far. So if he can continue improving with each game in the coming weeks when the fixtures come thick and fast across all fronts, then Mikel Arteta might be more convinced to keep hold of him for the long-run.

Arsenal prepared to cash in on Nicolas Pepe in January (Pepe is seen in the picture)
Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal with the Heads Up logo on his shirt during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2020, in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

What Are The Ivory Coast International’s Best Attributes?

Pepe has blistering pace in his locker and can go on some promising runs out on the wide areas. He is proficient at beating his marker with speed and can be a hard man to dispossess when he is dribbling at full swing in the opposition half.

The 24-time Ivory Coast international can also pack a lot of power with his strikes from long range. However, he has sometimes found it difficult to cope with the physical side of English football which explains why he has struggled in the Premier League but keeps impressing in Europe this season.

Should The Gunners Cut Pepe Loose This Winter?

Arsenal have struggled to bang in the goals in league football this season as they have only scored ten goals in as many matches so far. Most of their attackers besides Pepe have also struggled to find consistency at the highest level. Hence, one can argue whether Pepe is being pushed out of the club too easily when most of their other stars are continuing to underperform on the field as well.

The Gunners will probably be selling Pepe for a loss if they decide to cut him loose when the transfer window reopens in January. Maybe it would be wise to give the Ivorian winger at least until the end of this season to prove his worth in the English top-flight. If he still doesn’t turn his form around by then, then Arteta should consider letting him go and using the money from his sale to bring in a quality replacement.

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