Mikel Arteta explains Arsenal’s decision to release Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has, on Friday, provided an insight into the club’s decision to part ways with Nicolas Pepe.

For those who may have missed it, wide-man Pepe finally sealed a long-awaited permanent exit from Arsenal late last week.

After returning to base in north London on the back of a loan stint back in France with OGC Nice last season, it was quickly made public knowledge that the Ivorian international remained firmly outside the plans of boss Mikel Arteta.

Negotiations, in turn, were kicked into gear over a contract termination, to open the door for Pepe to make his way to Turkey, with Trabzonspor.

And precisely that was confirmed last Saturday, Arsenal announcing across the club’s social media channels that:

‘We can confirm that Nicolas Pepe is leaving the club. We have agreed with Nicolas to terminate his contract with immediate effect.’

Pepe’s exit, of course, marks something of an embarrassing one for Arsenal, just four years on from the Gunners splashing out a then-club-record £72 million on his signature.

Speaking to the media on Friday, the topic was therefore put to Mikel Arteta for the first time since news of Pepe’s move was made official.

And the Spaniard made use of the opportunity to heap praise on his now-former attacker, albeit whilst justifying the club’s decision to release him as ‘best for both parties’:

“I wasn’t involved in the process of that deal,” Arteta began. “But what I can say is that he was a phenomenal boy who tried really hard and tried his best so it’s not his fault the amount of money we paid at the time.

“When things aren’t working you have to move on. There is no point trying something when it’s not working for either so I think it’s best for both parties.”

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Conor Laird

Conor Laird

Die-hard Juventus fan with a love for all things Italian, and a real soft spot for Arsenal cult heroes. Emmanuel Eboue, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos... Give them all statues outside the Emirates.

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