Morning all, a very quick Friday blog for you.
It looks like the Nicolas Pepe to Trabzonspor thing had some legs, and the player is set to the join the Turkish side. They sent a plane for him yesterday. First up, it’s good for him, and while perhaps not the first destination he had in mind when considering his future, it’s a chance for him to get his career back on track. We know things went south for him at Arsenal, and an injury hit loan at Nice last season was underwhelming. He’s still only 28, so he’s hardly over the hill.
As ever with transfer stuff, there are various bits of reporting around this one. GFFN say Arsenal will receive £3m which, if true, is surprising. Others have a figure lower than that, while the suggestion that Arsenal will have terminated his contract (i.e – come to a financial arrangement over the final year of his deal), makes the most sense to me. Let’s see what comes out in the wash.
As I said yesterday, enough has been written and opined about Pepe and his time at Arsenal. The deal should be a salutary lesson in what not to do in the market. Even off the back of his impressive Ligue 1 season, he felt like a signing to get people excited (at best), rather than one who was thought about as part of a clear squad-building strategy. I also suspect that if someone really cared to dig through the nuts and bolts of this deal – in terms of both clubs (Lille and Arsenal), they would be swimming in some pretty murky waters.
That, however, had nothing to do with Pepe who was the exact opposite of the player the then head coach was looking for, and he arrived at this club during a tumultuous and unstable time. It was his inability to get to grips with what Mikel Arteta wants from his players off the ball that was the real issue in my opinion. On it, he could produce, if not anywhere near consistently enough. His best performance was perhaps the FA Cup final in 2020, and while he fell out of favour with the manager, I do think Arteta should have some gratitude for his contribution to a game which subsequently bought him important (maybe even job-saving) goodwill and time during a very difficult period.
Anyway, best of luck to Pepe who can go and play without the millstone of a price-tag before his first name.
For a bit of extra reading this morning, Tim’s column is about Arsenal and selling – and how we don’t necessarily do it as well as we’d like. It’s something I’ve written about quite a bit, but when you look at some of the issues other Premier League clubs have had with big-name players, it adds a bit of context to it all.
Right, I’ll leave it there for now, but there is a brand new Arsecast to get into your ears, as I chat to old pal The Man from East Lower, and we hear about an upcoming pod-a-thon featuring a host of fantastic guests. Enjoy.