Arsenal to hold Pepe talks as Arteta plots double transfer swoop

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    rsenal will hold talks with club-record signing Nicolas Pepe over his future at the end of the season.

    The Ivorian forward has failed to meet expectations since moving to north London from French club Lille in a £72million deal back in 2019.

    Pepe has struggled for minutes this season and has not started a Premier League match since October. He will have two years left on his contract come the summer, when Arsenal will hold talks over his future.

    A key part of Arsenal’s transfer plans for the next window is to bolster their forward line and they are interested in signing two strikers. One of those additions would likely also be able to play out wide and that would further impact Pepe’s lack of opportunities.

    “It is frustrating not to play,” Pepe said back in March while on international duty with Ivory Coast. “No player enjoys not playing but I have to respect the coach’s decision.

    Arsenal’s club-record signing Nicolas Pepe has not started a Premier League match since October

    / Arsenal FC via Getty Images

    “When a team is winning it is hard for a coach to make changes. Mikel (Arteta) has explained that and I know I have to work hard in training to get more playing time. The coach knows what I think and how hard I am working.”

    Pepe is currently focused on the final few games of the season and is hoping to play a role in Arsenal’s push to qualify for the Champions League. The Gunners are sat fourth in the table and now two points ahead of rivals Tottenham, who they meet in the north London derby next month.

    Qualifying for the Champions League will boost Arsenal’s transfer budget, but they have decisions to make on a number of current players, not just Pepe. Defender Pablo Mari is currently on loan at Udinese, who want to keep him after some impressive performances in Serie A.

    “Mari is an Arsenal player. It is already unusual for such a player to come to Udinese, not because we don’t deserve it, but because in general the path is the opposite,” Udinese director Pierpaolo Marino told DAZN. “It will be difficult to keep him, but we will try.”

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