In a recent interview with Football Insider, former Leeds United player Noel Whelan backed Everton to launch a move for Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe. Whelan said,
“I think if you’re going to take a chance on Nicolas Pepe, we know there’s a player there. We know that there’s a skillful winger in him.
“A loan move is the safest move you can make. You’ve got to make sure that you get a player in, you see how he settles and you see his performances.
“Only then can you judge him on the fact that you want to spend £25million. Right now, Arsenal are offloading him or wanting to offload him for a reason. Because he’s not done it.
“That is the reason why players bought for big money are then very shortly after loaned out or sold. Because they’ve just not done it for the club that spent the cash.
“For Newcastle and the likes of Everton, to give him the opportunity, to give them that second bite of the cherry in the Premier League, the loan move is the safest move to go down.
“You’re not wasting any money. All you’re paying is a percentage of the wages. Then, at the end of the season, you can assess the situation.”
Pepe’s Impressive Form At The Emirates Stadium This Season
Pepe has been a sporadic presence in Mikel Arteta’s first XI this season despite producing a few impressive displays for the Gunners in the final third. The Ivory Coast international has made nine appearances for the North London giants during this campaign, netting one goal and grabbing three assists in multiple competitions.
The 26-year-old deserves some credit for averaging 1.0 interceptions, 2.1 shots, 1.6 key passes, 1.6 crosses and 1.9 dribbles per game in Premier League football. He has even distributed the ball with conviction after completing 84.3% of his attempted passes in the English first division (stats via whoscored).
What Will Pepe Add To Everton Boss Rafael Benitez’s Team?
Pepe can use his pace and agility to make some quick dashes with the ball down the right-wing. He has got the vision to pick out a killer pass in the attacking end of the field and can even whip in some inviting crosses into the opponent’s penalty box.
The 28-time Ivory Coast international can even strike the ball with power and accuracy from long range when he is playing well on the field. However, he has lost his first-team privileges at the North London of late, so joining a club like Everton would be an ideal move for the player at this stage of his playing career.
At 26, the France-born talent is currently enjoying the prime years of his playing career which makes him a good choice for the Toffees to consider next year. He will undeniably add more pace and creativity to Rafael Benitez‘s attack and could serve as a perfect replacement for James Rodriguez who left the Merseyside club back in September. All in all, Benitez should think about going all out to recruit Pepe during this winter transfer window.