Nicolas Pepe, according to rumors, is unhappy with his current situation at Arsenal and may look for a new club in January if his playing time does not improve.
The Ivorian winger was once again on the bench as Arsenal fell 2-1 to Everton at Goodison Park, with Richarlison and Demarai Gray scoring in the second half to give the Toffees the three points.
When Gabriel Martinelli went down with a hamstring injury in the 71st minute, manager Mikel Arteta decided to replace Pepe with Eddie Nketiah, who joined the Gunners for a club record £72.5 million in 2019.
Nketiah’s contract with the club expires in the summer, and he recently turned down an extension offer from Arsenal.
Arteta explained why he chose Nketiah over natural winger Pepe when asked why he brought him in.
“Because I chose to bring Eddie on today and play him.”
“In the space of 25 minutes, he produced three chances and struck the post,” says the coach.
In his post-match press conference, Arteta was pressed further on his decision to select Nketiah over Pepe:
“In training, he [Nketiah] performs everything you saw him do in 25 minutes here. Each and every day. That’s why I went with him.”
Pepe expressed his dissatisfaction with his lack of playing time in public at the end of last season.
“My goal is to play more, to have more playing time,” he told Canal +.
“A happy player is one who continues to play. I’d like to rediscover my smile again.
“Mikel Arteta expects me to give it my all during the game’s 90 minutes. Then I find out during training that I’ll be a sub the following weekend.
“Any player knows how irritating it is to be on the bench.”
What does a super sub’s job entail? Coaches make their own decisions. It’s up to me to prove myself so that I don’t have to play this part.”
Pepe will review his alternatives in the January transfer window, according to Temmybiz.com, with a loan deal the 26-year-greatest old’s chance of first-team play, but any possible suitor is unlikely to be able to afford his expensive wage.
Pepe is one of several senior first-team players who Arteta considers expendable, and offers for the Ivorian are expected in the next transfer windows.
Arsenal will play Southampton and West Ham in rapid succession next week, and Pepe could be called upon with Emile Smith Rowe and Martinelli both out due to injury.