Arsenal winger Pepe 'open' to joining Nice on permanent deal this summer
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Arsenal winger Pepe is open to joining Nice on a permanent deal this summer, according to reports.
Pepe arrived at the Emirates in 2019 for a club-record transfer fee of £72 million.
However, the 27-year-old struggled to live up to expectations and after just three seasons, he was sent out on loan.
He joined French side Nice where he has gone on to score six goals in 17 appearances, although a knee injury has hampered his progress.
He recently made his return to the team, as he hopes to guide the Ligue 1 club to a European finish.
But with less than a year left on the winger's contract, Arsenal face a decision to make over his future in north London.
Pepe 'open' to Arsenal exit
According to French news oultlet L’Équipe, Nice are considering retaining Pepe for next season, but want to see more from the player before making a formal offer.
Indeed, Pepe is said to be open to extending his stay at Nice, and would be willing to make the move permanent.
The Ivory Coast international would find it very tricky to break back into the Gunners' first team, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard all currently ahead of him in the pecking order.
However, Mikel Arteta labelled him a "phenomenal" player in the summer, insisting he was not responsible for his sky-high price tag.
“I think Nico has tried to deal with that [the price tag] in the best possible way, he is not responsible for the price a club pays for him," Arteta said (quotes via talkSPORT).
“He has tried everything, his attitude and the way he is, is just phenomenal. You just have to meet the person because you just love him for the way he is."
But the boss also revealed Pepe wanted to play regularly, which may prove difficult on his return to the Emirates.
“We decided for every party it was the best decision to allow him to go. He needs to play minutes, he needs to play football. He was really adamant to do that and we decided that it would be best for everybody to do it," added Arteta.
“He needed minutes, he has been craving minutes and talking to me a lot about that, I couldn’t guarantee that right now, what he was looking for."
Tierney to Newcastle?
Pepe is not the only player expected to depart, with Kieran Tierney also heavily rumoured with a move away.
The Scotsman has fallen out of favour this season, following the arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City.
He has been limited to just four Premier League starts this term, a stark difference from his 22 starts last campaign.
Tierney is thought to be in search of first team football and Newcastle have emerged as a possible destination, with Eddie Howe allegedly keen to add a left back to his ranks.
Arsenal are expected to want to recoup the £25million they paid Celtic for Tierney back in 2019, and it is thought the Magpies have the funds to bring him to St James' Park.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney, Mikel Arteta, Nice, Football, Transfers