Arsenal’s record purchase Nicolas Pepe will not be subjected to any offers in January, according to Mikel Areta.
Under Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta, the Ivory Coast international joined Arsenal for an eye-watering £72 million from Lille about two and a half years ago, but has only showed glimpses of his talent.
Pepe finished last season in the finest form of his Arsenal career, scoring five goals in three games, but has had a difficult start to the new season.
Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka’s continued success has limited his Premier League appearances, and his solitary goal so far came in the Carabao Cup annihilation of Championship side West Brom in August.
Pepe is scheduled to start on the bench against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Thursday, but Arteta maintains the 26-year-old still has a key role to play.
When asked if Arsenal would let Pepe leave in January, he answered decisively, “No, and it is not the time to talk about it either.”
‘We want Nico to achieve at the highest level he is capable of.’
‘Since I’ve been here, he’s had some really amazing moments, and some moments where he hasn’t contributed nearly as much as the rest of us.’
Newcastle, supported by their wealthy owners, has been connected with a bid for Pepe, but Arteta thinks that, unlike in the early years of the Emirates Stadium era, there is no cause to worry Arsenal’s top players being cherry-picked by other teams.
‘I believe that players should stay at football clubs when they have a sense of belonging, importance, and worth in every area, and when that is the case, typically players want to stay,’ he stated.
‘When players begin to make other decisions, it is because they require something different in their futures.’
Sometimes it’s not about money; sometimes it’s about sports; sometimes it’s about family; sometimes it’s about a problem with adapting; there are many different scenarios.’