Everton backed to sign Nicolas Pepe: Time for Arsenal to cut their losses?

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Former Leeds United player Noel Whelan in a recent interview with Football Insider backed Everton to move for Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe.

Earlier this month Fichajes reported that Arsenal are prepared to let go of Nicolas Pepe in the January transfer window. Reports suggest that Arsenal and Mikel Arteta have not seen enough from Nicalos Pepe and have been left disappointed with his performances. Following which Arsenal are now open to selling Nicolas Pepe in the winter transfer window.

Pepe joined Arsenal from LOSC Lille in 2019 for a club-record fee of €80 million. However, he has failed to match the form that saw Arsenal move for the winger in the first place. Following which Arsenal are keen to recoup some of the €80 million they spend on Nicolas in 2019.

Pepe only scored 5 league goals in his debut campaign in the Premier League. He improved this tally to ten goals in the league the following season. While the Ivorian winger has scored 25 goals and set up a further 18 goals for his teammates in 98 appearances for Arsenal (stats via Transfermarkt). But it is not quite the numbers you expect from an €80 million man.

Noel 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.

“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.

Time for Arsenal to cut their losses?

With the rise of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka in the Arsenal starting lineup, Pepe has seen his opportunities limited. While this season he has fallen even further down the pecking order behind Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard, and even Gabriel Martinelli.

Even with his limited game time he has averaged 2.1 shots, 1.6 key passes, 1.6 crosses, and 1.9 dribbles per game in the Premier League. On top of that, he has averaged 1.0 interceptions and has an 84.3% pass completion rate in the Premier League.  

At 26 years of age Pepe still has many seasons ahead of him and a move away from the Emirates seems like the best option for the winger to find his feet again. A loan move in January seems the best move for all parties involved.

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