Arsenal said they should bite the bullet and get rid of Nicolas Pepe, a £72million flop, while Alan Smith told his former club they may need to take a financial ‘hit’ on the likes of Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
- The club has been told by their former player that they have to get rid of the winger
- Nicolas Pepe was acquired from Lille in 2019 for £70million under Unai Emery
- Ivorian has struggled to make any kind of impact since coming out of Ligue 1
Arsenal have been told to bite the bullet and get rid of Nicolas Pepe this summer by former striker Alan Smith.
Pepe, 27, was signed for nearly £72million in the summer of 2019 by Unai Emery and then head of football Raul Sanllehi, but he struggled to live anywhere near that price tag during his three years with the club.
Speaking with the emphaticallySmith said clubs find it difficult to put unwanted stars on big contracts and his former team will therefore likely have to take a financial hit on the player.
Ivorian Nicolas Pepe has struggled since his arrival at Arsenal in the summer of 2019
As many clubs are discovering, it is so hard to lose Premier League players with such good contracts,” he said. Smith told Express Sport.
‘Sometimes Arsenal had to take hits’ [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and [Mesut] Ozil to get them out the door.
He went on to say: ‘Pepe is the big one, because they bought him for over £70 million. They don’t get that back. Nothing nice.
Alan Smith begged Arsenal to tie the knot and get rid of Nicolas Pepe this summer
“It was one of the worst transfer rates, not as bad as Lukaku, but it was above that.
‘He doesn’t seem to be’ [Mikel] Arteta’s cup of tea. He’s not consistent and not many coaches like that. So if they could get Pepe out the door, that would be great.”
Since arriving at the club, Pepe has made 80 appearances in the Premier League, providing just 16 goals and nine assists. The pace of the competition often looked difficult for him, while his finished product regularly infuriated Arsenal fans.
The player has sometimes been linked with a move to Newcastle or back to France, but the market has often looked difficult for Arsenal to sell the player in.
Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal’s business isn’t necessarily done this window
His value has plummeted and, as Smith has pointed out, the club will be nowhere near the compensation they paid for him if they manage to sack him this summer.
Arteta indicated earlier on Thursday that Arsenal’s transfer matters – both incoming and outgoing – were not yet finalized.
“Everything is still open, it’s a long period of time, a lot has happened, it’s unbelievable how much business the clubs have done in the Premier League and it shows how competitive it is and this season won’t stop that,” he said.
“Players will feel the need to leave, others will have to move and everything is still open.”
Pepe seemingly remains one of the most likely Arsenal players to leave the club before the summer is over.
Despite being prominent for Arsenal in the pre-season, Pepe could still be sold this summer