Sunday, May 22, 2022

Arsenal Expected To Offload Star Player In January: The Right Choice By Arteta?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Fichajes, Arsenal are prepared to part ways with Nicolas Pepe. The Gunners have been left frustrated by the player’s underwhelming performances, with Mikel Arteta now open to letting him go in the winter transfer window. Pepe’s current contract at Emirates expires in 2024, but the club is hoping to recoup some of the €80 million they had spent in 2019.

Nicolas Pepe’s Struggles At Arsenal

Nicolas Pepe has been a disappointment at Arsenal after joining the club from LOSC Lille in 2019. He was brought in to add more quality to the club’s offensive setup that was evidently struggling at the time.

However, the move hasn’t played out well for the Gunners, as Pepe has failed to thrive in the Premier League. The winger has struggled to offer any spark or inspiration in the final third, often running into isolated areas while also lacking the confidence to take on opposition defenders.

During his first season at the club, the Ivorian scored only five Premier League goals. He did improve in the following campaign, netting ten goals in 29 outings, but the majority of them were scored against relatively weaker teams, barring Leicester City.

In the new season, Pepe has now fallen behind in the pecking order, especially with Emile Smith Rowe’s rapid rise to prominence. As a result, the former Lille starlet has started only five matches in the Premier League and has featured in only five minutes of action since mid-October.

Arsenal star Nicolas Pepe
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 26: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal during the Carabao Cup Round of 16 match between Arsenal and Leeds United at Emirates Stadium on October 26, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

Should Arsenal Offload Him In January?

It is apparent that Nicolas Pepe is not the right fit for the Premier League. His more delicate style of play that relies heavily on trickery and time on the ball doesn’t go hand in hand with the more physical nature of the English game.

The player has also lost a chunk of his confidence due to his struggles at Arsenal. Hence, a January exit could bode well for both the parties involved, with the Gunners, in particular, hoping to get him off their wage bill and recoup some of the amount they had spent on him in 2019.

They could use the cash to fund a move for a new attacker, which could be a necessity as Alexandre Lacazette is tipped to leave Emirates in January. As for Pepe, a move elsewhere will provide him with the opportunity to potentially relaunch his career and put his Arsenal misery behind him.

Given his talent and potential, Pepe can be an asset for any team in Europe, especially if he returns to Ligue 1. However, the French clubs may find it difficult to match his wage demands, so it remains to be seen whether the Gunners find any suitor for the Ivorian this January.

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