Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Arteta: Pepe tried hard, he did his bit

Mikel Arteta wouldn’t be drawn on whether Arsenal need to learn lessons from the departure of Nicolas Pepe but he wished the player well after the decision was taken to terminate the player’s contract a year early.

Much was expected of the Ivory Coast international when he was signed for a then club-record fee of £72 million. Unfortunately, in a team that started losing its way under Unai Emery, it was difficult for him to replicate the form he’d displayed the year before for Lille.

While Arsenal fans were treated to flashes of the winger’s mercurial brilliance, he found it difficult to assert himself on matches consistently and eventually fell down the pecking order behind Bukayo Saka.

“I don’t know, I wasn’t involved in the process of that deal,” replied Arteta when asked if the club should analyse why such a big deal didn’t work out. 

“What I can say about him as a person, he’s a phenomenal boy. He tried really hard. He did his bit. It’s not his fault the amount of money that we paid at the time. And that’s it.

“When things are not working, you have to move on. There’s no point trying when something is not working either way. That decision has been made and I think it’s in the benefit of all parties.”

Earlier this week, the player confirmed he was joining Trabzonspor and in an early interview said the transition-heavy style of Turkish football should suit his strengths.

Asked whether he feels sad at not being able to get the best out of Pepe, Arteta said: “Yes, but obviously there are moments for players, not only him but, Rob [Holding] leaving, Flo leaving, and all the other ones that have been on loan as well.

“You have an emotional attachment to them, you have tried to get the best out of them. But there are periods, and sometimes it’s not about the will of the player, but it’s a player that plays in his position as well that does so well; there are many factors, but what we certainly want is to wish all of them the best and hopefully they can fulfil their dreams somewhere else.”

Pepe isn’t the first out-of-favour player to be paid off – eight others went through similar negotiations on their way out in recent years – but the club will be hoping he’s the last for a while. It’s certainly not a trend we want to become known for even if Arteta made clear that the circumstances behind such decisions were unique in each case.

“I think every case has been very, very different. Always at the end, it’s a few parties that have to agree to something, it’s not a decision that I take [alone],” he said. 

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Lessons from teh Great Wenger. Never disparage even when baited. He tried. He failed. Why that happened is for Nico to answer. All the best Pepe.

A Different George

That is a great point. Imagine what Mourinho would have said.


Funny how he is now a proper specialist of failure. You can’t buy class.


MA learned from the best!

timorous me

I was thinking the same thing as I read this. Mikel is certainly a brainy tactician strongly-influenced by Pep, but he’s also a really considerate, empathetic human in the mold of Arsene.

The fact that he can demonstrate both qualities as our managers feels really special and meaningful to me.

Skinny Ricki

“Mercurial brilliance” is spot on. Will never forget Pepe’s sumptuous goal scored against Wolves to get us back in the game – nor his fine performance in the FA Cup Final victory over Chelsea. Maybe never consistent enough – but not his fault that he came with such a hefty fee, that Star Boy emerged, or that he didn’t fit into our new style of play. Hope he fulfils his undoubted potential. Good luck Nicolas!

No foot Norbert

The two free kick goals in the europa that saved emery’s career (for another few months) comes to mind also


Helping us win that FA Cup also bought Mikel Arteta a lot of good will and time for fans to “trust the process”, I’m sure Mikel hasn’t forgotten that. Thanks for doing your bit, Nico.

Goodly Morning

He was key in getting that FA cup and I will always be thankful for his role getting that bit of silver.

Celebration Police

Arteta’s game is based on fine details, that’s why certain players will struggle. It’s not because they’re not good enough, they just don’t fit. It’s a high risk, high reward game in which a small mistake from anyone can have serious consequences. Everyone is taking risks and everyone is working hard defensively.
Imagine how good Pepe will be if he applied himself defensively. He is a risk taker but doesn’t do enough defensively. I wish him all the best.
Football has really evolved from just being skillful. You have to be hardworking.


And I’d add, have a certain type of football intelligence, which is clearly something the main man Mikel is hot on.

A Different George

Hearing all the recent discussions of him leaving, I was surprised at how many games he had played, how often he did well–my memory (and it’s not like this is decades ago) was of a very occasional brilliant goal, and very little else.

The price tag, as everyone says, was one his fault. Would he have done better at Arsenal if he had come in for, say, 35 or 40 million (which, it is rumoured, would have been quite possible)? Maybe not, but surely he would still be playing in a top league.

A Different George

was not his fault

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

An italian side was ready to pay the big amount. Pépé said Ancelotti had him on the phone for only four minutes. He decided immediately that it was going to be Arsenal because Emery took the time to give him every details about his project.


There was a brief video of Pepe and arteta in a meeting in All or Nothing. Watched it a few times and thought Pepe looked confused and arteta was close to mocking him.
may e it was just the editing,, but thought it was off


I wish him well. I could see him lighting up the Turkish league and reappearing in the EPL at a mid table club in one years time.

I miss santi cazorla

Pepe’s best goal perhaps was the one disallowed for offside against chelsea in the fa cup final


A shame.

Charlie Nicholas II.

World class in fleeting glimpses. But largely underwhelming.

A shame.


His goals to game ratio is slightly better than Kai Havertz.
Just saying

Est Ldn

Slightly easier to score against Dundalk, rather than Real Madrid….

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