Nicolas Pepe set for Arsenal exit as Nice agree loan deal

The Ivorian winger is set to travel to France to undergo a medical at Ligue 1 side Nice after the two clubs agreed a season-long deal on Wednesday, potentially linking up with Aaron Ramsey at Allianz Riviera.

However, such a move does not spell the end of Pepe’s unhappy stay in north London just yet, with Standard Sport understanding that there is no option to buy the player next summer included in the loan.

The Gunners smashed their transfer record to sign Pepe from Lille in a £72million deal in the summer of 2019, but the player has struggled notably to provide a return on that significant investment.

The 27-year-old is not part of Mikel Arteta’s long-term plans at the Emirates having started just five Premier League matches last season, scoring once.

Nicolas Pepe is no longer part of Arsenal’s plans, three years after joining for a club-record £72m

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Pepe was an unused substitute for high-flying Arsenal’s opening two matches of the new campaign against Crystal Palace and Leicester, while he was dropped from the matchday squad entirely for Saturday’s 3-0 win at Bournemouth amid talks with Nice.

He will follow the likes of Nuno Tavares, Pablo Mari and Alex Runarsson in leaving Arsenal on loan this summer as Arteta trims his squad following the signings of Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner and Marquinhos.

Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Konstantinos Mavropanos have also departed on permanent deals, while Alexandre Lacazette left the club to return to Lyon after his contract expired.

Arsenal are also hoping to secure exits for Hector Bellerin and Ainsley Maitland-Niles before the transfer window shuts on September 1, with the latter offered to West Ham.

Bellerin, meanwhile, has been linked with a return to Barcelona as they struggle in pursuit of ex-Tottenham defender Juan Foyth, now at Villarreal.

Arsenal could move for another attacker after Pepe departs, with Portugal international Pedro Neto among their top targets in the next seven days but fears they could be priced out of a deal as Wolves demand up to £50m.

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