Leeds United have been named as a potential landing spot for Nicolas Pepe and a Spanish report has detailed how little Arsenal could sell the winger for this summer.
The Ivory Coast international, 27, remains Arsenal’s club-record signing. Nicolas Pepe cost an eye-watering £72m when signed from Lille in 2019. However, his three seasons in north London have produced little to justify that price tag.
Indeed, Pepe tumbled down the pecking order last season with Bukayo Saka the undisputed No 1 at right wing.
That resulted in just 20 league appearances, mainly from the bench, and various reports have suggested Pepe’s time at the Emirates is up.
The Sun listed Pepe on a seven-strong list of stars Arsenal are seeking to offload this summer. Now, a report from Spain has shed light on where he could go.
Diario de Sevilla unsurprisingly detail the interest of Sevilla. It’s claimed Pepe was on the Spanish side’s radar during his time in Ligue 1 and contact has been initiated with Pepe’s agent.
However, Pepe’s salary of north of £100,000-a-week is acknowledged as a significant hurdle Sevilla may not be able to overcome. That is, of course, unless Pepe agrees a hefty wage cut.
The outlet state Pepe’s price tag ‘would exceed €25m’ (approx. £21m). Even if he went for £25m, Arsenal would be selling for around a third of their outlay.
Three more suitors named – including Leeds
A return to France with Marseille or Lyon is also speculated, though the most intriguing option is undoubtedly that of Leeds United.
The Whites are named as a contender with Pepe representing a direct replacement for Barcelona-bound Raphinha.
Leeds have already signed Luis Sinisterra from Feyenoord, though the Colombian operates primarily on the left wing.
That is likely to push Daniel James on to the right. Pepe may be seen as competition or even an upgrade.
Pepe reportedly changed his representatives in May in the hope of forging an exit this summer. The report concluded Sevilla may try their luck with a lowly opening bid of £15m prior to add-ons.
Nicolas Pepe worth a gamble?
Pepe has a point to prove after his Arsenal career has stalled. What’s more, Newcastle have recently emerged as a contender to sign Leeds winger Jack Harrison.
The Whites are expected to laugh off the Magpies’ interest. Though if Newcastle open the chequebook the story may be different.
Even if Harrison remains, Leeds do not have a left-footed winger who can cut inside and cause havoc from the right as Raphinha did.
Harrison is left-footed, though has always been deployed on the left where he is most potent.
A winger corps of Sinisterra and Harrison on the left, with James and Pepe on the right would give Jesse Marsch plenty of options.
A Pepe move is certainly an intriguing one, especially as Leeds are known to be targeting another forward (Charles de Ketelaere, Arnaud Kalimuendo). But whether there is any substance to the Spanish report, only time will tell.