Recall that Arsenal paid French club Lille a whopping €80 million for the services of Nicolas Pepe on August 1, 2019. To date, the Ivory Coast international remains the most expensive player at the club.
Despite the huge amount Arsenal spent to bring the 26-year-old right-winger to the club, he has not been able to establish himself as a regular starter. He mostly starts from the bench or sometimes ends up as an unused substitute.
The reason why Nicolas Pepe is not being used as regularly as expected is because of his inability to be as consistent as expected. Hence, so far this season, Pepe has managed to make 18 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal in which he scored three goals and provided five assists.
The fact that he has not been playing regularly at the Premier League club has affected his transfer market value drastically. Currently, the transfer market value of Nicolas Pepe is as low as €30 million.
As expected, Pepe is not happy that he is not playing regularly at Arsenal when he is supposed to be in the prime of his football career.
Ahead of the international friendly game between Ivory Coast and England at the Wembley Stadium later tonight, March 29, 2022, at 19:45, Pepe said he is waiting for the end of the season to decide on his next move.
“I am focused on how well we do until the end of the season and the club’s target, which is getting into the Champions League. Then we will see what happens”, Said Pepe in a pre-match press conference on Monday.
Nicolas Pepe gives an update on his meeting with Mikel Arteta
Due to the lack of regular game time at Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe who reportedly earns £100,000 per week at Arsenal decided to have a meeting with the club’s coach Mikel Arteta.
While revealing some aspects of the meeting, Pepe said the coach explained to him that “When a team is winning it is hard for a coach to make changes.”
“Mikel Arteta has explained that to me and the coach knows what I think and how hard I’m working”, Pepe added. “It is also about communication. Sometimes it’s not easy to communicate with the language barrier. It has been a tough season for me. Of course, it is frustrating not to play. No player enjoys not playing but I have to respect the coach’s decision and the team is doing well at the moment.
“I have improved since coming to London and English football is different from French football, particularly the intensity in the matches and I had to adapt physically and make that transition which I feel I have done.”
Even though Nicolas Pepe is not playing regularly, Arsenal have been able to push themselves into the 4th spot on the league table.
So far this season, the north London side have recorded 17 wins, three draws, and eight defeats in 28 Premier League games. They currently have 54 points, three points above 6th placed Tottenham Hotspur, and four points above 7th placed Manchester United.
Ivory Coast manager Patrice Beaumelle is not happy that Pepe has become a bench warmer at Arsenal
It is not only Nicolas Pepe that is frustrated by his inability to play regularly at Arsenal, the head coach of his national team Patrice Beaumelle is not also happy that one of his star players is not playing regularly at the club level.
Ahead of the Ivory Coast friendly game with England, the Ivorian tactician said: “When I watch Nico on the bench it is painful for him as he loves to play and it is painful for me because I need my players on the pitch for club games.
“I would like him to play more as I am sure he can bring a lot of solutions. When you see what he brings to Ivory Coast, I would like to see him bring so much fun and joy and happiness and goals with the red jersey.”
Since Nicolas Pepe made his debut for the Ivory Coast national team, on November 15, 2016, the 26-year-old left-winger has scored 6 goals in 28 games in all competitions. His contract with Arsenal will expire on June 30, 2024.