Three January destinations for Nicolas Pépé in wake of Mikel Arteta's comments on lack of minutes
Arteta sheds light on lack of minutes for Nicolas PépéArsenal boss Mikel Arteta reiterated his stance surrounding Ivorian international winger Nicolas Pépé regarding his lack of match minutes at the Emirates.The club-record signing from LOSC Lille has not featured in the matchday XI for Arsenal in the Premier League since the 2-2 draw against Crystal […]
Arteta sheds light on lack of minutes for Nicolas Pépé
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta reiterated his stance surrounding Ivorian international winger Nicolas Pépé regarding his lack of match minutes at the Emirates.
The club-record signing from LOSC Lille has not featured in the matchday XI for Arsenal in the Premier League since the 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace on matchday eight while logging just 12-minutes of action in two substitute appearances since.
Hale End academy graduates Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have shone this season once more for Arsenal and Brazilian starlet Gabriel Martinelli has come on strong in recent weeks, with the young trio making themselves undroppable at current and limiting the number of opportunities available to Pépé.
It's been a tough time for Nicolas Pepe recently https://t.co/C4CpaXslFZ
— football.london (@Football_LDN) December 17, 2021
For boss Mikel Arteta, however, it remains clear as to what Pépé must do to work his way back into the strongest XI;
“It’s with all the players that they are not having enough minutes. Obviously with the amount of games we have are having, there’s not enough room for all those players.
With Nico’s [Nicolas Pépé] situation it’s something similar. I’ve highlighted on many occasions it’s because of what I see every day. That’s with Nico as well. But he needs more opportunities to show what he can do and in the last few games, he hasn’t had them.
I have to try to make that decision on what I see every single day. And to be fair, Nico is really willing and really willing to help the team. The reality is that the position he is playing, Bukayo [Saka] has been playing regularly there and he’s been fantastic. So it’s not been easy for him to find that time.”
Despite the hectic nature of the December period in the Premier League, there is still no guarantee that Nicolas Pépé will be given the chance to fight for the place that he so craves. With that in mind, here are three potential landing spots that could suit both the player and Arsenal.
Newcastle; money bag destination
The obvious choice if a move in the Premier League would come to fruition, cash-flush Newcastle is in desperate need of adding quality under new boss Eddie Howe since the club was purchased by a Public Investment Fund-led consortium.
Goal contributions — past 50 Premier League games:
27 – Phil Foden
23 – Raphinha (45 games)
22 – Mason Mount
20 – James Maddison
19 – Wilfried Zaha
18 – Trent Alexander Arnold
17 – Allan Saint-Maximin
15 – Pablo Fornals
14 – Bukayo Saka
4 – Adama Traore
— Matchday365 (@Matchday365) December 17, 2021
Able to afford the lion’s share (or all of) Pépé’s wages is certainly a plus regardless of whether any potential move was either a loan or a full sale. Additionally, the prospect of Howe deploying Pépé on the opposite flank of the mercurial Allan Saint-Maximin could prove a masterstroke and provide the Magpies with two direct options out wide capable of attacking at pace while offering technical capabilities to make something happen.
Barcelona; “we’ll take anyone…anyone at all”
Who hasn’t Barcelona been linked with in recent weeks as the Catalan giants look to solve their attacking woes amid the injury crisis and overall poor performance that has gripped the Camp Nou.
Xavi has been linked with interest in other Premier League forwards, namely Manchester City pair Raheem Sterling and Ferran Torres, and most recently in soon-to-be free agent Federico Bernardeschi. Rumors of interest in a return for Alexis Sánchez were also stirred up recently, but an immediate resolution of their attacking concerns – and Xavi’s desire to add quality out wide – could be found in Pépé.
Though he may not be immediately viewed as good enough for Barcelona, he would present an affordable option on a six-month loan for a player whose skill set would suit La Liga to the ground.
Olympique Marseille; Arsenal beneficiary
French giant Olympique Marseille has already benefitted from Arsenal on two occasions this season with highly-successful loan moves for French pair William Saliba and Matteo Guendouzi. Could a move for Pépé also come to fruition?
Both Saliba and Guendouzi have been nothing short of superb for OM this term while helping push the club to second place in Ligue 1 under Jorge Sampaoli, so it could easily be postulated that Pépé could go through a similar revival. His level of performance and influence while he was at LOSC Lille was streets ahead of what he has managed to put in at Arsenal, and his intimate knowledge of the league could offer him an ideal landing spot either on loan or permanently.