Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe is “pretty much certain” to leave the club this summer if they sign Raphinha, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.
Pepe joined Arsenal for a club-record transfer fee back in 2019, but has rarely looked like living up to his price-tag.
What’s going on at Arsenal?
The Gunners have set their sights on Leeds United’s Raphinha as Mikel Arteta looks to bolster his front line ahead of next term.
The Athletic have reported that Arsenal made a formal bid for the 25-year-old on Tuesday, but it was rejected by their Premier League rivals.
However, the same report states that they are still keen on the Brazilian, indicating that they are likely to return with an improved offer in the near future.
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What has O’Rourke said about Pepe’s future at Arsenal?
Raphinha tends to play on the right flank at Leeds, while Bukayo Saka also excelled in that position last season at the Emirates Stadium.
If Raphinha moved to Arsenal, Pepe would be set to find himself as only the third-choice option on the right wing, plus Arteta can also call upon Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe on the opposite side, so it is hard to see where Pepe would fit in. With this in mind, O’Rourke expects him to be moved on.
He told GIVEMESPORT: “I think it’s pretty much certain if they do get a deal for Raphinha over the line, it will probably be curtains for Nicolas Pepe. He just hasn’t hit the heights since his big-money arrival from Lille.”
Has Pepe been given enough chances at Arsenal?
Some fans may point out that Pepe only started five league games for Arsenal last season. Is that really enough for a player to make a considerable impact?
In the previous campaign, the Ivorian scored 10 top-flight goals, and it seemed like things might be starting to click for him under Arteta.
Yet the 2021/22 season was certainly a step backwards, and Arteta did bring him off the bench 15 times in the Premier League, handing him opportunities to make the difference in the closing stages of matches. Unfortunately for Pepe, he was unable to make the most of his chances.
If he does leave this summer, the £140,000-a-week star will depart with a record of 27 goals and 21 assists in 111 appearances for Arsenal.
On the face of it, those numbers are not dreadful by any means, but the north London outfit would still have expected more from their record signing, and that is why it is unlikely that he will be missed if he does decide to try his luck elsewhere.
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