Arsenal have announced that Ivorian winger Nicolas Pépé has left the club with immediate effect, following the termination of his contract.
Pépé, who spent last season on loan at Ligue 1 side OGC Nice, has been out of favour at the club for a while now and, despite the fanfare around his arrival, departs as one of the club’s most disappointing signings in recent memory.
Following the termination of his deal, it is thought that Pépé will join Turkish side, Trabzonspor.
Pépé joined Arsenal in the summer of 2019. Following the club’s disappointing end to the 2018/19 season, Pépé was brought in for a club record fee of £72m.
While playing under Unai Emery, Pépé failed to work his way into the manager’s plans. Emery, who had favoured a move for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, was not convinced of Pépé’s suitability to his tactical plans and thus left him on the bench.
When Emery left, Pépé was entrusted with more starts under interim coach Freddie Ljungberg, scoring his first goal in a 1-3 demolition of West Ham.
Since the arrival of Mikel Arteta, things have been a lot harder for the former Lille man. Though considered an ever-present figure in Arteta’s first season, Pépé soon found his place in the first team taken over by Bukayo Saka.
Last season, aware that he was not part of Arteta’s plans, Pépé was loaned out to Nice in Ligue 1. Any hope that Pépé would regain his form and place himself in the shop window were obliterated, as the Ivorian finished the season with just 8 goals in 28 games in all competitions.
This summer, Arsenal had hoped to find a suitable buyer. Resigned to being forced to make a loss on the winger, Arsenal had nevertheless hoped to receive a fee for the player.
However, given the player’s somewhat muted response to fresh challenges in France, not to mention a lack of suitors willing to meet the asking price, the club have decided to terminate the player’s deal.
Pépé leaves Arsenal with a very disappointing legacy. Though part of the team that won an record-extending 14th FA Cup, Pépé failed to really make the grade with the club.
For his part, Pépé had, prior to this summer, been relatively quiet about his time with the club. This summer the player has spoken openly about his fractured relationship with Mikel Arteta and about his desire to leave, as well as his displeasure with repeated instances of being forced to the bench.
Pépé remained at Arsenal just long enough to see his designation as the club’s most expensive-ever player, usurped by West Ham United captain Declan Rice this summer, and now leaves to seek a new challenge in Turkey.