Arsenal flop returning to the Emirates after unsuccessful loan spell in France

Nicolas Pepe’s return to Arsenal from his loan spell at Nice poses a new challenge for the club in the upcoming summer. Since his arrival at Arsenal as the club’s record signing in 2019, Pepe has struggled to live up to expectations and has been considered one of their least successful signings in recent years.

In an attempt to revive his form and potentially secure a permanent move away from Arsenal, Pepe was loaned out to Nice for the last season. However, his performances at Nice did not fully demonstrate that his struggles were solely attributed to the Premier League, raising doubts about his overall quality as an attacker.

According to Get Football News France, Nice has decided not to pursue a permanent deal for Pepe, resulting in his return to Arsenal. This means that the Gunners will need to address the situation and find a suitable role for the Ivorian winger within the club.

Just Arsenal Opinion

Having struggled at Nice, it might be difficult for Pepe to find another club that will take a chance on him in this transfer window.

This means we might be forced to reach an agreement with the Ivorian and rip up his contract before next season begins.

Keeping him at the Emirates will block the space we need to add someone better to the group.

Now the season is over, it’s time for the summer Arsenal quiz from our friends at Dublin Arsenal – It’s always a laugh and helps while away the time while we wait for Arsenal’s first signings to come in!

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Tags Nicolas Pepe


  1. A return loan could help ease the wage bill, and one last chance with the January window.

  2. I concur. Pepe should leave. He is surplus to quantity and indeed a big flop.

  3. Admini Martin, please where is my comment posting gone to? I mean my last comment posting that I posted on the Pepe article posting that is currently threading on JustArsenalNews.
    Anyway, that’s aside. For, I am now perceiving that West Ham Utd may pull haywure with Arsenal over their reported want to sign their club captain Declan Rice from them this summer. As West Ham could make a U-turn to not sell him to any top club side this summer. This could happen as West Ham have beaten Florentina 1-2 in the Uefa Conference League Cup final to lift the trophy. And as a resul will see them playing European football again next season but that time in the Europa League Cup competition.
    But would West Ham activate the one year option which is on Rice’s contract deal with them to keep him to play for them next season? And give him a lucrative contract extension to keep him at the club.

  4. Pretty good stats for a flop, below are his first 2 seasons at Arsenal:

    24 goals
    15 assists

    We definitely overpaid but this was more an issue of a manager and a player not working well together. He is a confidence player, not everyone can be managed in the exact same way. To call him a flop is just wrong and naive.

    1. PJ-SA, I totally agree with your assessment. Sanheili has s lot to answer for the transfer fee paid; however Nicholas Pepe when selected has performed far better than a “flop”.

      1. Hi ozziegunner
        I couldn’t agree more with you that Sanhelli has a lot to answer for but Pepe hasn’t been able to cut it at Nice either.
        I thought he was given plenty of chances but it just didn’t ‘happen ‘ and certainly not enough for the fee paid

        1. What about the data PJ has posted? I am not surprised you have ignored that but pointed his Nice performance because you don’t want to accept maybe Arteta has failed to manage him properly.

          Do you realize you are always posting excuse even though not in a plain way wherever Arteta is questioned?

          One can be praised and criticized at the same time.

          1. HH
            That is – to use a JF expression- a load of old tosh.

            What cannot be denied is that after 4 years on the Arsenal books, Pepe remains unwanted even by Nice who was his last port of call. If he was that bloody good he’d have been recalled or sold for a good fee.
            And yes, I do like Arteta
            Every man, woman and their dog knows that

        2. @SueP,
          How is 8 goals for the season at Nice given his injuries, a flop for a winger? How many goals did Jesus score at Arsenal last season? Do you want to bet me that Jesus won’t match Pepe’s figures by his second and third year at Arsenal? Please let’s stop these unfair and often biased criticisms. MA has not managed Pepe well!

          How many wingers in EPL recorded more than 8 goals last season? With all the money MANU paid for Anthony, how many goals did he produce? And Mudryk at Chelsea? Or even Raheem Sterling?

          What is an objective definition of a flop? I wish fans will consider this critically before unfairly labelling Pepe a flop.

    2. This is the priblem with those that rely on stats in isolation. One picks any given stat of any player they like, dislike or neutral about and then try to use that single stat to prop up their view point.

      I thought using Stats out of context / using stats in isolation without adding the beefy substance has been addressed to death on here and elsewhere. That’s not how life works. You take any given stat and expound on it adding the relevant substance to strengthen it.

      If I am being honest here, to today I do now accept and believe that Pepe has been a super flop. Very one paced / one dimensional kind of player. We have to accept the reality. This is a 28 year old grown man, a father too. At the end of next season 2023/24 he will be 29 years old. These are supposed to be his prime years and he still plays like rookie 19 year old that has just broken into the FA CUP / Carling Cup team. He seem to have that “Feeling sorry for myself” type of personality.

      It’s all been up to Pepe to challenge himself after making it to a big global club. No manager is going to have the time to cuddle a 28 year old adult man. The manager has more than 30 different individual players in his squad and other things to manage. He is not omnipotent or omniscient. Players have to take personal responsibility for themselves and then give the manager a challenge he can’t ignore. Not the other way around.

      In real life your manager is not there to cuddle you. It’s you that has to apply yourself and then the manager will use your talent and try to integrate it into your work environment.

      I keep hearing we spent about £70 million and about £150,000 a week in wages on Pepe in 2019. In my opinion he has been so poor and underwhelming for 90% of the the time he has been an Arsenal. His personality / mentality / attitude do not seem to be made for top top class football. Seem like a very nice guy generally, but in top top class football one needs mental toughness.

      1. Not just stats son, if you actually watched him when on form you can see there’s a decent player there.

        You see that’s where you wrong about how you treat players, you are using terms like baby/cuddle to try and prove your point instead of having good argument.

        You can call it whatever you want but every player responds differently to how they are treated and this is where Pep is the best in the world. You may not believe it matters but that’s irrelevant to the fact that it does.

        1. PJ I think the problem with Pepe isn’t his output in terms of goals and assists; it’s everything else. In the modern game,there’s more that is required of a winger: tracking back,pressing,intercepting passes etc . It is these other things that Arteta( and Emery too) demanded from Pepe and he fell short. Saka,Jesus and Martinelli all put in a lot of work besides scoring or assisting. It can’t be that all of Emery,Arteta and Ljungberg(briefly) wrongly never trusted Pepe to start. There must be a good reason why a young,inexperienced Saka was preferred ahead of him by the coaches.

        2. PJ interestingly you mention Pep regarding Man management when that has often been regarded as perhaps his only weakness as a coach. I can’t think of any coach who has fallen out with so many players quite like Pep : Toure,Etoo,Zlatan, and most recently Cancelo. Even greats like Messi and Aguero have had disagreements with him in the past.He is a tactical genius though ; perhaps the best there has ever been. But a good man manager ? Come on! If you wanted to give a good example in that aspect of coaching then Juergen Klopp is your guy- all his current and former players always praise him as a person.

          1. Good points.
            It seems people are finally challenging the nonsense that some contributors keep posting on here. Much of which is for some reason simply to denigrate the current manager.
            As for Pepe, I agree with Goonster, he is a grown man and people need to stop blaming Arteta and everyone else for the stalling of his career at Arsenal.
            He remains a good player with reasonable talent but he has not demonstrated that he can reach the kind of levels we need at Arsenal.

        3. @PJ-SA
          You can dismiss what I said but that’s the reality. No amount of padding up Stats will convince the majority on Pepe at the moment.

          And if your out of context Stat padding was relevant then why has he not conviced 2 managers at Arsenal and had an average season on loan at Nice? Clubs should be fighting to acquire his services while Arsenal and the vast majority of our fanbase would all be screaming for him to be reintroduced. Look at Saliba. In the exact situation as Pepe but look at the way he grabbed the opportunity to show Arteta what he is all about. Saliba is 22 yeara old while Pepe is 28 years old. Go figure.

          It’s a player’s responsibility to work hard, get out of their comfort zone and try to get the best of their own ability. Can’t be making excuses when you are 28 years old and a father. Go out there and push yourself. No one is here to cuddle or babysit you. You a fully grown adult and this is your career.

          You might not like the bluntness of what I said but it continues to be shown as the reality instead of your “It’s the managers fault” talking point.

          Saliba, ESM, Nketia, Odegaard, Martinelli, etc all went through uncertainty in their these young years of their but they keep fighting and not waiting for anyone to pity them.

          I will say it again, the objective evidence shows that Pepe has been a flop, average and a underwhelming signing. Seem to be very weak mentally / psychologically. Our current players have this mentality but Pepe seems to be even more weaker as compare to them.

          We all were p!ssed off with the way our players cracked under pressure at the end of this season and the season before. But you want to make excusses for an even weaker personality like Pepe?

          No club or manager is going to babysit individuals that seem to be too timid like Pepe. The managers are also under pressure to produce results. It’s a results game or you will be fired. So why should the manager cuddle players that can’t take personal responsibility when the same fans keep putting a lot of pressure on him to produce results?

          We have more than 30 individual players in and around the first team sqaud. The manager has not got enoug time to babysit each and every adult male in there. That’s why he has to make all sorts of decisions that will not appease all of us individually. It’s millions of fans and you have millions of opposing views. So the manager can’t make all of us happy all the time with our personal favourite players or players we personally have a a soft spot for.

          The manager will always make his own decisions that he deems appropriate at any given time. That’s why he is the manager.

          That’s all I am saying.. 👍

    3. I’m never a fan of the term, but Pepe hasn’t done well for us. Those stats are decent for, I think, 89 appearances, but having watched him, they don’t tell the full story. He made his name being a killer on the counter at lille, when he could play on instinct and didn’t have much time to think. For us, he receives the ball more often in deeper positions, slows the play down and regularly gives the ball away cheaply – he generally looks very lost. He’s a really good finisher, but he struggles to beat defenders in the EPL and just hasn’t been able to adapt to our kind of possession-based football.

      He really fell away in his third season as well, which i guess was when arteta came and made our game more system-based, and that suited him even less. As with Tierney, I would have preferred arteta did a bit more to try to give him confidence, bring him on side, and find a way to get the best from him – he does have talent, and that finishing ability is extremely rare, but it would have required a lot of patience, and Pepe is at the point where he probably wants to be kicking on, not learning a new way of playing.

      He should find a club where he’s wanted – he has more than enough talent to be a success somewhere, but it’s not going to be here.

    4. @PJ-SA,
      You are spot on!

      Pepe is by no means a flop. MA just didnt know how to get the best out of him. And for those wondering why Nice didn’t keep him, I guess it’s mainly for financial reasons. Afterall Arsenal was still subsidising his wages whilst he was there?

      The £72 million transfer fee is not Pepe’s fault. The club has failed to deal with the culprit.

  5. I always felt that Pepe was not good when he had time on his hands and this brought in hesitancy especially in the wings.
    If we cannot find him a new home outside of AFC, I would like to try him as a striker as he is instinctive and unpredictable.

  6. I always felt there was a player in him somewhere and that he should have been successful without ever being sent off on loan.
    He has his own style and way of playing which MA seemingy couldn’t make head nor tale of. In my opinion, although I like Reiss Nelson and EddieNketiah, they are no better than PEPE. But they are English and MA has therefore persevered with them having run out of patience with Pepe.
    In my opinion Pepe is an instinctive player who lives in a world in which he needs to be allowed to do the things that come naturally to him. Unfortunately MA didn’t see it like that. I’m also wondering if Pepe doesn’t take instruction very well. Who knows, but what a waste of money if we can not even get him to be considered as an important squad member who can cover on the wings when Saka or Martinelli are rested.

  7. .I am opining that Arteta should retain Pepe in his team for options and to cover at the right wing for Arsenal’s next season’s summer campaign.
    Who knows, he could rediscovered himself and his game for Arsenal and steps it up considerably for the tame to come very good for Arsenal. And Arteta should try to be giving him playing time to play regularly in the team as a sub and sometimes as starter too.
    Arsenal may not do a new top quality right winger signing this summer. As their signing one is not looking to be one of their priority signings this summer. Therefore, Arteta can keep Pepe for Arsenal’s next summer campaign as a backup to Bukayo Saka. Which won’t look as out of place but in place.

    1. You are right,, Pepe may discover himself beside be a good backup for Saka I agree with you.

  8. The seems a conspiracy of silence NOT to mention the TRUE CULPRIT, SANLLEHI, who , were I INCHARGE OF OUR CLUB, I would be pursuing in law for the return of the financial damage he took , personally, that has causeD us such massive damage.
    SANLLEHI, lets not forget , left our club in suspicious circumstances virtually overnight and no one except mself has ever, to my knowledge, pointed out the culprit. HIM!

    We should take legal action, failing which a fraud charge should follow against him for wilful misappropriation of the clubs money, some of which will have found its way directly into his pocket.
    I am sure of it!

    1. How can you be ‘sure of it’? You can put 2 and 2 together and be very suspicious like me, based on the circumstances. There seems to be coverup IMO based on what transpired and AFC are complicit in this matter.
      Like you I felt there should have been a proper investigation at the very least.

    2. jon fox, Sanheili’s part in the Pepe overpriced transfer was emphasised in my post above.

  9. I think the only crime Pepe committed was his price tag and I wonder sometimes if he was the one that placed that price tag on himself and I don’t understand why he’s getting the blame. So why can’t we look beyond the price tag and give him more support, he will surely do better than the players we have now in Saka and Martinell. He has finished a campaign as the top scorer in Arsenal even with the fewer minutes he played.

  10. Yes IGL, Arsenal are indeed complicit in not seeking redress from SANLEHI. But I dIslike turning a blind eye to frauid quite honestly, anD think thr club OUGHT to take action.

    Proving it would not be difficult either, IMO. Were I not 100% convinced he IS guilty, I would not say such a thing.

    But I am content for him to charge me with libel, if he dares, which he will not, as he, I and the club ALL know he is guilty and ought to be in prison.
    NO BIG CLUB SPENDS SO MUCH MONEY ON AN OBVIOUS FLOP, unless someone inside the club gains financially. And HE DID!

    1. jon, Arsenal hsve paid a high price in not pursuing Sanheili at law, in oder to not expose their “dirty linen”

  11. I believe Pepe if he was at our club last season we would have a Tittle, Saka was very tired so keeping Pepe its good Idea mmm that time he played with gusys like lacazete and Aub now Jesus matnelli trossads its big big differlents i gooner i believe

  12. As we saw,,, how Saka was tired during the last matches,,, our coach was somehow confused on who should take Saka’s place but to be sure if we could have Pepe around am sure as for now we could be having a different narrative of the league, with the likes of Jesus,Trossard,Zincheko,Jorginho,Odegard,Martneli….I think Pepe could have proof something for us.

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