Arsenal are on the verge of letting Nicolas Pepe leave the club, with the one time record signing finally closing in on a move to Turkish side Besiktas after initially rejecting their advances, it has been reported.
The winger arrived from LOSC Lille in 2019 for a fee of £72m, smashing Arsenal’s transfer record at the time (which had previously been £42m when they signed Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid) though this has since been eclipsed by the arrival of Declan Rice this summer.
He enjoyed a good first season in north London, scoring 8 goals and grabbing 10 assists as he played a big part in Arsenal’s FA Cup success in Mikel Arteta’s first season.
However, the Ivorian was deemed surplus to requirements following the arrival of Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira last summer, both of whom could provide cover for Bukayo Saka, and as a result he found himself out on loan in Ligue 1 with OGC Nice.
Still with one year left on his contract in north London, French outlet L’Equipe report that he is on the verge of departing permanently to Turkish side Besiktas, who he rejected earlier in the summer but are now one of a handful of destinations available to him after the majority of transfer windows slammed shut last week.
They claim that the winger ‘is having his medical examination in Paris this Monday prior to his arrival at Besiktas’, having had a change of heart, though it is unclear whether or not Arsenal will receive a fee for the player, or terminate his deal a year early.
Should it prove a permanent departure (the most likely solution with just 12 months left on his deal), it will leave Pepe with 112 Arsenal appearances to his name, with each appearance costing the club an eyewatering £642,000, while every minute that he was on the pitch was worth over £10,000.
Meanwhile, he set the club back £2.6m for every goal he scored, though that drops to £1.5m for every one of his 48 goals or assists during his time at the Emirates Stadium.