Arsenal loanee Nicolas Pepe has voiced out his contention over Mikel Arteta’s decision to drop him and claimed he could have been an important player for the Gunners if he was not loaned.
The Ivory Coast International winger also admitted that he and the Gunners boss Mikel Arteta were in disagreement following the manager’s distrust in his ability and what he could’ve brought to the Gunners.
Nicolas Pepe was signed by former Arsenal boss Unai Emery in 2019 for a club-record £72 million from Lille.
But he failed to prove his worth at the Emirate club and three years later, he finds himself back in Ligue 1 on loan at Nice.
During his first full season in England, Pepe scored eight goals from 42 matches across all competitions.
The Ivorian was in his best form in the second year bagging 16 goals from 47 appearances.
However, the abrupt emergence of England star Bukayo Saka saw Pepe’s game time reduced.
His diminished game time, saw Pepe making just 20 Premier League appearances in the 2021/22 season, without making any starts after mid-October.
Meanwhile, Pepe later joined Nice on a season-long loan last year, after Arsenal had won their first three league games without Pepe playing for a single minute.
The 27-year-old Ivory Coast player found his form again, nailing a bright start in France with six goals in just 19 appearances for Nice.
Pepe has now called into question the choice of Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta concerning his future, as he believes he could have been an important player for the Gunners in their Premier League title race.
The Ivorian revealed that he will like to reunite with his pals at the Emirates Stadium.
Pepe claimed he’s 100℅ viable and he can help the London club achieve a lot.
Speaking in a press conference, Pepe said: “I’m very happy at Nice, there are still two important months for the club.”
“I want to focus on the last two months and the rest, I don’t know. There will be discussions. I don’t know what Arsenal wants to do.”
“I still have a lot of friends there. I could have been important for this club, but it’s the manager’s choice.”
“I spent my time taking good care of myself and working. Today, yes, I am at 100% of my means even if it will take me a little time to find the pace.”
Arsenal are in their most formidable form this season and the Gunners, without Pepe, are now eight points clear of tough rival Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
Mikel Arteta’s current crop of wingers, which include Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Leandro Trossard, have all been instrumental in the club’s success.
Bukayo Saka in particular has emerged as one of the top players in European football this season.
What Next for Arsenal and Pepe
It remains unclear whether or not Arsenal will return Pepe to the Emirates in the summer.
Peradventure he returns, he is likely to linger on the bench while Saka and other wingers remain Arteta’s preferences.
With a resounding 4-1 victory over Leeds United yesterday, April 1st, Arsenal will be looking to secure their first Premier League title since 2004 when they travel to take on Liverpool at Anfield on the 9th of April.
Kickoff time is 4:30 pm.
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