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Arsenal announce Nicolas Pepe loan switch to Nice

Arsenal announce Nicolas Pepe loan switch to Nice

Arsenal have confirmed that Nicolas Pepe has signed for Nice on a season-long loan deal.

Three years ago, the Gunners broke their transfer record to secure the signature of the Ivory Coast international for £72m.

Although Pepe has never quite lived up to that price-tag, he contributed 15 goals and seven assists during his opening two seasons in the Premier League.

However, the winger was reduced to a bit-part role during 2021-22, being provided with just 951 minutes across 23 appearances in all competitions.

With two years remaining on his contract, the 27-year-old has been at somewhat of a crossroads with regards to his Arsenal career throughout the summer, the likelihood always being that he would move elsewhere.

Nicolas Pepe in action for Arsenal in August 2021© Reuters

Arsenal have now announced that Pepe has been given permission to return to French football with Nice after agreeing terms for a loan move.

Pepe returns to a division in Ligue 1 where he has previously contributed 38 goals and 17 assists from just 107 outings, form which earned him his transfer to the Emirates Stadium in 2019.

According to transfer expert Fabrizo Romano, Nice do not possess the option to sign Pepe on a permanent basis next summer.

Pepe joins the likes of Kasper Schmeichel and Aaron Ramsey who have already moved to the South of France from Leicester City and Juventus respectively.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta on August 13, 2022© Reuters

As far as Mikel Arteta is concerned, he may now be given the freedom to bring in another creative player as a direct replacement for Pepe.

Speaking last week, the Spaniard said: “We know as well where we are short, where we have to add more firepower. And if we can do it, we will do it.

“We will try to the end, the transfer window is tricky at the moment. We would like to do something else but let’s see what we can do.”

Although Arsenal were linked with Pedro Neto at the start of the week, Wolverhampton Wanderers head coach Bruno Lage has hinted that a transfer over the coming week was unlikely.

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