Monday, June 17, 2024

Confirmed: Nicolas Pepe joins Nice on loan

Arsenal have confirmed that Nicolas Pepe will spend the 2022/23 season on loan with Nice.

Out-of-favour at the Emirates, the Ivorian returns to France in search of more game time under head coach Lucien Favre who has returned to the Allianz Riviera for a second stint in charge.

Pepe made 20 Premier League appearances for the Gunners last season (scoring one goal and making one assist) but only started five matches, the last of which came in October’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

He was impressive in the League Cup registering four assists and two goals in three matches but was away at the African Cup of Nations when Mikel Arteta’s side were knocked out of the competition by Liverpool.

Signed for a club-record £72 million fee in the summer of 2019, hopes were high that Pepe would bring pace on the counter-attack to assist strikers Alex Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

While he’s certainly shown flashes of brilliance under both Unai Emery and Arteta – in 2020/21 he registered 21 goal involvements in 47 appearances – his ability to produce consistently has been regularly questioned.

The rise of Bukayo Saka hasn’t helped his cause with the England international deemed far more diligent in the defensive side of his game.

Arsenal had been hoping to offload Pepe on a permanent deal this summer but given the player’s age and wage situation – he’s one of the club’s highest earners – they were realistic about the chances of making that happen.

Pepe made the Ligue 1 team of the year before making the move to London, it’d be great for all parties if he can find that form again this season. It sounds as though Nice will not have an option or an obligation to buy.

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Hope he does well there and we can recoup some funds next summer. He scored some beauties for us but has fallen down the pecking order and is clearly not in Mikel’s plans.

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah, one of the criticisms I have of Arteta (and I say this as a complete fanboy) is that he seems to have a habit of tanking players value. I remember on multiple occasions Pepe playing really great but finding himself on the bench for the next three games. As a result, he became the anonymous, forgotten man. But if you go and watch his highlight reel, this is a very, very special player that should be £30m at least. Arteta needs to take a little responsibility for that. I also hope we don’t make a habit out of brokering… Read more »

El Mintero

Somewhat agree with you. I think Pepe is a special player that’s had a bit of a rough ride in the Arteta era. Two years ago he was second top scorer and looked like he was about to make a big impact in the team, then boom, new season starts and he’s stuck in the deep freeze instead. Still a bit of a head scratcher to me that one…


Well it’s simple, Saka developed into a better player than Pepe, and then into a much better player.

Eazy Deezy

Well let’s hope this loan un-tanks his value


I agree with you on being cautious spending over £50m, however I won’t agree with your view that Arteta tanked his valuation. I have to believe that up to this point, if Pepe didn’t start or feature regularly that it was to do with his attitude and training efforts. We never heard of him misbehaving, so we can assume that he did the bare minimum and showed up without any issues. However, there was a point where Arteta said there was a new Nico (during/after Dubai trip), implying he didn’t do enough before. He never did enough, and that’s fine,… Read more »


I strongly disagree with that. With all the seemingly positive notes, Arteta demonstrates his lack of man management skill over and over his tenure. It almost feels like as if you either lick his sole or you are gone, done and dusted. Happened with Guendouzi, Auba, even with Ozil to some extent, and it is just a guess, but my guts are telling me it also happened with Saliba before. All of those only Ozil is justified; Guendouzi became one of the best midfielders in Ligue 1; if reports to be believed, Chelsea and MU are vying for the signature… Read more »


I kinda like Arteta even though he’s a stiff kindo geezah’ that tries to act all loose with the lads, anyway I’m sure he’s good tactically and we don’t get to see that in “all or nothing”. But he tanked Guendouzi’s value cause he didn’t respect the head teacher (arteta) – he seemed to learn though, cause look at Tavares and Pepe (no option to buy)….


Guendouzi tanked his own value, you can’t wear the Arsenal shirt and behave the way he did.


what did he do?
A player misbehaving in training should not affect the player value. What happens at a board meeting at tesla should not affect the stock value. guendouzi be kickin it in marseille at cm and for the national team so ..should of been worth 30million at least


It’s well documented what he did, unacceptable behaviour against Brighton and then fell out with Arteta in Dubai. You can’t put misbehaviour to one side and let the player have their way just to preserve their value. It would be more costly to let them get away with disciplinary issues and non-negotiables as it would set a negative precedent for the others. Once the others see there are no consequences for acting like he did they’ll do it too and then whole thing falls apart and we go back to a weak mentality. This is why I respect Arteta, Wenger… Read more »


100% this. Yep, Arteta could have preserved at least some of their values – but at the cost of team harmony and direction. That cost far outweighs the reward.


I disagree with you. Of course, as fans, we see things differently and hence have different opinions, I will respectfully reject yours. Arteta did not tank Pepe, Pepe tanked himself, what stops Pepe from running back and showing interest in his defensive work? What stops Pepe from making simple passes instead of always trying to beat his man and losing the ball or his feet along the way, slowing down play when we need speed in attack, the man is ineffective. Fair there are moments of really good quality but they come once in a blue moon, as a manager,… Read more »


This is one of the best comments I’ve ever read on this site — so insightful, measured, and well-reasoned. Cheers.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

True about Pepe, and I thought it was just me who thought Grealish was shit

Johnny 4 Hats

Yup, totally, I think you make some good points. On a wider scale, I do feel that Arteta has had difficulty in keeping anyones value buoyant. We are about to let Ainsley go for peanuts, Nelson too, Leno and Torreira both went for minimal amounts. Guendouzi should have brought in more. Mavropanos was a really poor deal as he’s doing very well in the Bundesliga. Obviously you’ve got Auba too who is suddenly worth £20m only six months after we gave him away for free. Not all of these are Arteta’s fault at all and it is indicative of a… Read more »


Agreed there have been some fails but we also look at the team as a whole, without cup, European games there’s little room for rotation. In the cases of Guendouzi, Torreira, Mav those are different circumstances. the only way one’s value is protected is by playing and Torreira has had time at Athletico, and back in Italy and didn’t cover himself in glory, AMN too same story, he literally sabotaged his own career by being picky on where he played and his general laid back playing style where everything seems to be far too calm and lack urgency. Guendouzi was… Read more »


I don’t understand the argument that the manager is the one responsible for the valuation of a player, he has to pick the best 11 every week to win football matches, selling players has nothing to do with him. If the players of a previous regime don’t have value then surely it’s on them, we are literally finding clubs to loan them to to increase their value and get them out of squad. Do I the Edu could have done better with selling players such as Leno? Maybe, but I don’t know the demand and what clubs are saying, how… Read more »


Glenn Helder levels of consistency. Goodbye and good luck Nico.


Should be good for him to get back to playing regularly. I hope he has a great season and regains some confidence.


Another reason to be keeping an eye on the French league, here’s hoping he makes a good start like Balogun and Tavares have!

Man Manny

He’s got the talent and skill, but I think he is undone by a weak mind. It is like he gave up immediately Saka moved above him in the perking order.


I think he will be better suited in a counterattacking team, with less defensive work. His numbers at Arsenal were still very decent, but it’s clear he’s not part of Arteta’s plan. Let’s hope he shines in the Côte d’Azur, and we’re able to recoup some of the money next summer!


Was Saka ever below him? Even when Pepe arrived and Saka was 17 (to start the season) and performed at basically an equivalent level to a 72M quid new signing and played only 5 games less in the EPL and produced even more than Pepe in the Europa.

George Charlie

Let’s see who and how quickly we bring in the replacement! Best outcome all round. Another player gone (for the season at least) where our sell on factor is non existant. We will soon have a squad full of players that will be wanted for serious money by all the other clubs and paying players off will be a thing of the past.

If we don’t sign a replacement I wonder if Vieira can play RW.
Obviously Marquinhos can but he seems to be developing in the U21’s at the moment.

George Charlie

That’s a good shout. I still think a signing will happen as Viera will probably be a cup player for the the first half of the season, with a more experienced player covering/pushing Saka’s position


He can definitely play there, my Portuguese friend told me he played a lot and was very effective. He can even play striker apparently

Signed in time for Nice v Marseille on Sunday. An Arsenal reunion with Pepe and Ramsey for Nice, and Sanchez, Tavares, Guendouzi, Kolasinac for Marseille.

Oh and look who Marseille got in the Champions League….


Holy mother of arsenal loanees, outcasts and former servants. It will be like watching the past, present and future of Arsenal in one game.

Pat Rice and Beans

A classic example of sunk cost. Raul got scammed by Lille counterparts to shell 80M for Pepe.

Hope he puts his career back on track, so Arsenal could recoup a dime next summer.


I don’t think Raul got scammed, I think he earned himself a nice little pocket warmer out of it & knew exactly what he was doing by convincing Josh & Stan to pay as much as we did

Point Percy at the porcelain

A lot of his deals involved backhanders. Corrupt individual – v glad he’s gone!


I think you might need to be careful here. Can you prove the above? If not, your post could easily be defamation.

Not that I like the guy. Very pleased he’s gone


Wonder what Gazidis’ cut was on 90m for Thomas Lemar.

Heavenly Chapecoense

To be fair to Raul, Palace wanted the same amount for Zaha at that time. See all the money paid by Man U for Maguire 74M, the 90M for Pogba, 74M for Sancho.

Eric Blair

No need to be fair to Raul, he did himself right out of us.


Hope they deducted the 72m from Raul’s pay off. The guy should be in jail.

Pepe has out in the effort but he’s just not good enough – that’s not his fault, it’s Raul’s.

Man Manny

So far, Monza is the West Ham of Serie A. They will likely go back to Serie B before February – would have been earlier without World Cup.
So, next summer, Pepe and Mari will most certainly be back. So, the club should do all to ensure AMN, Reis Nelsen and others left leave on permanent transfers.


I could be wrong & they could go on a Salernitana style rescue mission but that option on Mari was stupid to begin with cause it was unlikely they’d stay up before a ball was even kicked


Sometimes, certain players need to be in teams that play to their strengths and style. Think Lukaku, Werner, and Haller. I wish him all the best.

Public Elneny

Tbf it’s not like he was a total failure for us like Lukaku, Werner and Haller – forget the transfer fee, that’s on Sanllehi not Pepe. He did make important contributions and went through spells of looking like our biggest threat. And I’m sure he could have contributed more if he’d had more game time and the faith of his managers. Doesn’t really fit the system, but sometimes that isn’t a bad thing if the system isn’t working or has been figured out by the opposition. I reckon he’ll tear it up at Nice and earn a good move to… Read more »

El Mintero

Totally agree.


Well, I’m a Pepe fan.


Nice bloke and he did make the effort, but he’s a one trick pony – devastating if cutting in from right wing, any other situation anywhere else on the pitch he’s ordinary.


I really like the way the club is getting rid of players that the manager doesn’t want. Personally, I liked Pepe, but if Arteta doesn’t want him then he should go. AMN and Bellerin next, hopefully.



I think we are strong enough as it stands. But if we got either the Wolves guy or matey from Villa Real, we would have an excellent squad.

Not Man City excellent ; but good enough to push them. And certainly good enough for a return to the CL.

Onwards and Upwards !!!


Bollocks! An serious injury to Jesus and we’re fucked. Also no cover for Xhaka or Partey in the middle.

We need a strong squad

El Mintero

Jesus gets injured, we’re fkd.


don’t worry, He’ll rise again


Well. Arteta never liked him from the beginning. I don’t want to use hate. The only player who would play an excellent game.. and go straight to bench. The only player .. Mikel arteta has come outside to criticize. (Yeah after the red card vs Leeds). But how many silly reds have xhaka received? Arteta never came out to say a word to the player… U see the different treatment? Wat about auba, laca being shit for weeks and still playing while my man wrought on the bench. It’s a pity man. The coach really did damage to his confidence..… Read more »


Is Pepe a striker? the simple answer is no, Lacazette had zero goals but the man worked his socks off for the team even on his off days. Pepe never gave an indication he really wanted his spot. Pepe had Saka on the right and got trialed on the left where he didn’t impress either. Saka was the Arsenal player of the year for the second year running last season. Did you honestly want Arteta to bench Saka for Pepe? on what grounds? you bring up Xhaka because Xhaka is a scapegoat for many. The man cannot catch a break… Read more »


One of my biggest criticisms of Arteta is his absolutely horrible man management skills. He seems to want to control every single aspect of the player and if the player is in any way different from his exact preference, then that player is gone. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever why Pepe didn’t get more playing time except the manager didn’t like something about him. Saka has been very good for us, but he has in no way earned the right to completely bench Pepe. But the coach would rather run him to the ground, playing him week in week… Read more »


Yes. Pepe would do well on a counterattacking team, no question. The problem is that we are a possession-based team. Pepe has talent but he turns the ball over too much – it’s high risk, high reward with him, a bit like it was with Alexis, though he had better end product. Arteta’s man management skills are good. Ask literally any of our first team players. I don’t understand what evidence people have that he’s not a good man manager; people seem to keep beating that drum without anything to back it up. Just because someone doesn’t fit the team… Read more »


A player like Pepe would drive any manager crazy.
All that talent but regularly loses the ball, fails to track back, apparent lack of interest and at times effort. An occasional worldie does not make up for not working for the team.
I’m sorry that he’s been benched so long he lost all rhythm and confidence. But he contributed so little so often it was inevitable.


Did he contribute so little, tho? Still a better G/A ratio than everyone at the club bar Auba since he joined, so?

Did he?

You can state your dislike, but you don’t have to lie on Pepe.

Eric Blair



I can only laugh at this. You cannot be serious about this. Saka didn’t deserve to bench Pepe, do you even watch Arsenal play? Saka play? Pepe play in the Premier League, not cups when teams are weakened or it’s just weaker teams? Pepe did not deserve to be on the team and when he was in his cameos didn’t give any reason to make the spot his. it’s as simple as that. You talk of man management like you are ever in the Arsenal dressing room or training ground. Foden recently praised Arteta for his coaching ability and management… Read more »

Merlin’s Panini

This must mean a player incoming. Assuming it’s Neto or Pino, unless Nelson did enough for the manager’s consideration in preseason before getting injured.
It’s such a shame that it hasn’t worked out for Pepe. I do still think there’s a great player in him but perhaps he’s just not the right fit for us. He has shown when he really applies himself that he can be devastating but he seems the sort of character that might need constant praise and attention from his manager and that’s not what Arteta is about. Arteta is all about the collective.


There have been individual games where he has looked top drawer. But he has never shown it consistently. I think he’s a player well suited to France. But not to the EPL.


How to do it consistently when you do well in one game, and you get rewarded by getting sat on the bench for the next three?

Merlin’s Panini

Work harder when you come off the bench maybe?


The most charitable thing you could say about signing Pepe was that it was grossly incompetent. The more realistic thing you could say about it…you probably can’t say for legal reasons.

If Nice play to his strengths he’ll be great for them. It’s not that he’s a bad player, but he was a terrible choice for Arsenal at the time, and only got worse when we changed managers.


So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu


Well, that means we are confident of bringing someone else in, hopefully.

I trust the manager’s judgement completely on this one. Good luck and all the best, Nicolas.


Pepe, like Elneny and Cazorla, just seems like a nice happy bloke who you’d want to have as a mate. Shame, but there wasn’t much sense in keeping him here. Good luck Pepe.


I’m a simple man, I see a Cazorla reference and I reach for a thumbs up. Great on the pitch and great to have in the dressing room. I hope we see him back at Arsenal at some capacity one day in the future.


So, so much unnecessary debate.
It could be that it’s Arteta’s fault or it could be that he would be ‘better in a counter attacking team’ etc…..but after watching him during his time at Arsenal showing moments of mind blowing brilliance surrounded by a lot of frankly terrible decision making….isn’t the more obvious answer as to why he hasn’t succeeded at Arsenal simply that the season he had at Lille before we bought him is an outlier in his career ?


Hopefully he smashes it over there, raises his market value, and we get some coin for him next summer. Shame it didn’t work out. The guy clearly has talent but I guess his style of play just doesn’t fit with Arteta. It happens.


i’m starting to think of ligue 1 as our finishing school. maybe pepe will come back and be LANS (a la saliba! and hopefully flo) or we’ll offload him like guendouzi

Mark Hazelwood

Lost possession far too often and not because he was doing anything high risk/gain. He was good at the impossible but not reliable at the basics. Ultimately I blame his naughty feet which always enjoyed tripping him up.

Boy Bastin

I hope he’s successful and good luck to him. I’m not sure about getting that much of an uplift in his current value (£?) if he’s a hit at Nice though. With only a year left on his contract when the loan expires, any club could get him for nothing at the end of it by signing a pre-contract agreement in January 2024. That said, we’ll probably get something (unless he’s a total disaster on loan) but it’s still unlikely to be more than a small fraction of the £72m paid. Overall, Pepe’s transfer is one we’ll need write-off to… Read more »

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