Arsenal chief Edu Gaspar has taken aim at Arsenal’s record signing, Nicolas Pepe.
Pepe joined Arsenal in the summer of 2019 from Lille. The Gunners paid a club-record £72m to bring the Ivorian to north London.
And though a player of course has no control over his price tag, to say that Pepe has since failed to come anywhere close to justifying such a fee would be putting it lightly.
Both Unai Emery, who has made public that he in fact wanted to sign Wilfried Zaha over Pepe, and Mikel Arteta, have struggled to get the best out of the gifted wide-man.
Pepe had a bright end to the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, which saw him net five times in his last three league outings of the season.
However, he has since struggled to emulate that form. He scored just one goal and provided two assists in 20 league outings across 2021/22, racking up just 681 minutes.
As a result, there was an expectation that the winger would be moved on this summer as he is a very expensive fringe player to have in your squad.
But on Sunday evening, Nicolas Pepe took to Instagram to suggest he was staying at Arsenal:
“I worked hard during the summer,” his Instagram post read. “Change lot of things.
“I’m focused and determined with @arsenal and my teammates.”
This has seemingly promoted a response from Arsenal’s technical director Edu who, without actually naming the 27-year-old, suggested that the Gunners want to sell him but he will not leave:
“When the player is 26-plus, big salary & he’s not performing? He’s killing you, that kind of player, because you don’t have a valuation to sell the player – Arsenal, London, beautiful, everything is fantastic – and has a good salary. How do you move this player?”
Pepe is reportedly on £140k per week in north London, making him the second-highest paid player still at the club from last season, behind Thomas Partey.