Monday, June 17, 2024

Confirmed: Nicolas Pepe signs for Trabszonspor

Nicolas Pepe has confirmed that he has left Arsenal to join Turkish side Trabszonspor in a permanent deal.

The move draws a line under a four-year spell at Emirates Stadium that never lived up to expectations following his club-record £72 million move from Lille.

In total, Pepe made 112 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 27 goals and making 21 assists. Along the way, he was part of the team that won the FA Cup at the end of manager Mikel Arteta’s first season.

While the Ivorian’s numbers weren’t terrible, he struggled to maintain Arteta’s trust and he was soon usurped by a young Bukayo Saka in his preferred right-wing position.

Saka’s rapid development, his diligent attitude towards defensive work and his all-round physical sturdiness meant Pepe was regularly confined to a watching brief and the occasional cameo in cup competitions. Eventually he didn’t even make matchday squads at all.

By last summer, it was clear Pepe was going to have to leave the club to play regular football and he accepted a loan move to Nice. A return to France, where he’d been so successful with Lille, was supposed to rejuvenate the winger but knee issues meant he only played three games between January and the end of the season.

Unlike other returning loanees, Arteta made no attempt to reintegrate the 28-year-old during pre-season. Instead, the player has been training away from London Colney while his representatives attempted to negotiate a permanent move.

Several Saudi clubs opened talks with him, as did Besiktas, but he’s ultimately decided Trabszonspor is a better fit for him.

In a statement on Instagram, he wrote: “Very happy to arrive in this country of football. New challenge for me, looking forward to getting back on the pitch and with the team bringing Trabzonspor to the top of the league!”

Despite rumours of a £3 million fee, we’ve heard that Arsenal won’t be recouping any money from the deal. I guess when you’ve written off so much, what’s a little extra…

Best of luck to Pepe in his new surroundings.

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Southern Gooner

Goodbye the other Pep

Giuseppe Hovno

I still loves that time he came on against wolves and scored and then helped in laca’s goal (technically an own goal) to win it. I was jumping up and down telling the people around me “I knew it, play Pepe!” Felt so sure at that moment that Artera should play him more. An opinion that Didn’t quite last the long term


Although I love guy, I’m so relieved this is over.


I know this sounds strange but there was a beautiful shape to the ball when he struck it left peg. Even from 80 yards you could tell it was a Pepe shot/cross just by the trajectory.


Pepe was never a 72 min player is true. Though is he that bad to let go on a free transfer
Somehow I still feel something fishy about Arsenal player transfers. Doku is 52 mn, Palmer is 43 mn, Balogun is 38 mn

Alan Sunderland

That might be more to do with city and Chelsea mate. I believe part of the Chelsea sale was the guarantee of 1 billion in transfers. Boehly passed the fit and proper person criteria when the government got involved. When he has invested the 1 billion in transfers he’s fulfilled his contract with abramovich. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of his Clearlake investors took Chelsea of his hands at the earliest legal opportunity for a healthy profit. I would not be shocked that some of these middle eastern investors that buy Chelsea of Boehly just happen to have ties… Read more »


Well, not only those numbers don’t look terrible, they are indeed very good. In the previous season, Saka had 26 G+A in 48 games (0.54 rate) -his best ever, while Pepe’s overall rate is 0.43, knowing that he has started many games from the bench.
I am not saying he had a future with us. Just saying that he was very good, at least in the attacking part of his game. It was not much predictable that we see an academy player going as high as Saka has gone, crowning England player of the year twice.


The price tag was never his fault but he was judged so harshly for it by the fans. There were other people involved in the original deal who really should be judged – preferably by real judges in real courts of law! Good luck to him.


I don’t think that’s true to be honest. Any Gooner I know was/still is angry at the club for the dodgy deal that was done, not at Pepe.

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah, you do wonder if he’d cost £25m if he’d still be playing his football at Arsenal.

I’m amazed he’s had so few suitors. The guy was a G/A machine, even if he did drift in and out of games.

I suppose in this modern structured game, where players all have very specific tasks, there’s no place for that sort of floaty player (see Saint-Maximin).

But football is about goals and Pepe’s output put shame to the Antony’s, Sancho’s and Mudryk’s of this world, who people still massively rate.


How bout Kai?


New scapegoat found


When he first signed I wasn’t thrilled as I suspected he would not fit in very well having watched him at Lille, but I really wanted him to succeed because he is a lovely footballer in the right environment. Some of his goals were absolutely stunning, my personal favourite being the spin and finish against Wolves a couple seasons back. It’s funny, I seem to have it in reverse because despite my initial doubts about him, he became one of my favourite players for his mercurial abilities. If only he was able to meet our off-ball standards. Hope he is… Read more »


I don’t get this ‘right environment’ argument. Pepe is a ‘moments’ player – capable of moments of brilliance but without the in-game intelligence (that for example Saka has loads of) to do it consistently. I think the far more logical explanation of what happened is that his breakout season was an analomy in his career when everything went right for him, and he was unlikely to reach those heights again.

Dr. Gooner

I’m with Jalex. Environments really, really matter for players. I don’t just mean the “atmosphere” (which was terrible when he first came) but also the tactical setup. The coach that wanted his type of player was gone within a few months of his arrival, and once Arteta took over it was a whole different ballgame, literally and figuratively. Pepe could not control that. He is not a player who thrives in a possession/counterpress type setup that we wanted to play. Where I find Pepe culpable is that he never added strings to his bow at Arsenal. He was who he… Read more »


I mean it’s possible you’re right…but I like logic. One standout season in his career at the age of 28… I said the most logical explanation is what I said before…..his lack of in-game intelligence surely matters in a counter attacking set up too ?

Dr. Gooner

It kind of sounds like you’re saying he was never that good, and I think that’s fair to a point. But he did thrive at Lille in a relatively simple system designed to suit him, whereas he had the opposite at Arsenal under Arteta. We did play on the counter a lot more in 2019/20 and that’s how we won the cup that year, which is mainly why Pepe looked ok in some games back then, but the more we moved towards the type of football Arteta wanted, the less of an option he became. In game intelligence is certainly… Read more »


I just think there is always people trying to debate why a player didn’t make it, particularly when there is a feeling he has ‘been made a scapegoat’, but in reality the answer is almost always that he just wasn’t quite good enough, rather than anything to do with systems or environments.
We bought him hoping his breakout season was his level, but it wasn’t.


He is gone. The debate is over…well, maybe not on X-Twitter.

Hope Pepe does well in his new environment.

PS – The dude must have some ‘football intelligence’ (why not just call him ‘thick’ and stop all this coded bullshit) since he has made a decent career of this football thing at top clubs.


Well I was responding to someone who disagreed with me so clearly the debate isn’t over ! 😀
I don’t like calling players ‘thick’ because I have no idea if he is or not, he might be a very clever bloke off the pitch.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Great analysis, thanks.


Nicolas “analomy” Pepe. Now if that isn’t the most fitting nickname to remember him by i dont know what is. Couldn’t even be a proper anomaly 😉




The price tag wasn’t the issue (although that was a scandal), it was that he just wasn’t up to standard .. about as underwhelming a signing as Eddie McGoldrick imo.

Anders Limpar

Poor old Eddie, gave everything he could whenever he could. He just wasn’t the most talented footballer.

Johnny 4 Hats

Let it go Anders. It’s been 30 years. He didn’t steal your ‘Automatic for the people’ album. It fell out of your cargo pants when you were on the piss with big Tone.


What WAS george Graham thinking though?? Kiwomya, ..Jimmy Carter…


Totally. Raul should cough up the 72m himself.

Emi Rates

We can at least thank the dodgy Pepe deal for leading to us getting shot of Dodgy Don Raul.


This is the healthy way to look at the whole Pepe situation.

The market has spoken, he’s gone to Turkey for free.

It was a terribly dodgy purchase, Arsenal have reacted magnificently.


Walking in the footsteps of Kevin Campbell. I wonder if they still sacrifice goats?


I’m still shocked his gone for free when wingers who have done nothing in the game are going for £45m+. More prem goals and assists than Sancho and Antony combined. Madness.


Also that’s Auba, Lacazette and Pepe all gone for nothing, a £170m odd front 3…

Teryima Adi

Business is profit and loss.


This is all monopoly money* and tough to get worked up about, but yeah that’s not a good look.

*With due respect to Swiss Ramble and others who try to break it down for the public.


I totally agree. As over inflated as the £72m was, he can’t be worth zero surely just because it didn’t work out for him at Arsenal.

He was one of the leading strikers in the French league a couple of years back. How is it that’s he’s suddenly worth fuck all?


It’s his salary basically. He earns way too much for his quality and much more than most clubs can afford, so the buying club is essentially paying 50-70% of his salary as a transfer free, and we “earn” that money in not having no pay him anything next season.

Not what you want, not at all, but as Monsieur Shakur once said, “that’s just the way it is…”

Teryima Adi

If nobody values your product you have nothing you can do.

El Mintero

True. But the real problem is the salaries we give these guys making it impossible to recoup a chunk of the transfer fee later on…apparently Havertz is the highest earner in the team. Meaning we’ll get fck all for him when we inevitably try and punt him in 18 months time…65 mil down the drain…I thought Stan was meant to be a business genius?


Well we tanked his value from 72m to 0 before putting him back on the market. its a real case of “what could have been”. And Bukayo Saka happened to him. Remembered him scoring two direct freekicks in one of those Europa League games and thinking we may have a deadball specialist on our hand. Wishing him all the best in Turkey.

Death by 300,000 Passes

Not Nico’s fault, he is also victim of “Don Raul”‘s brilliance. Wish him all the best in Trabzon!

El Mintero

Talented player who I thought looked pretty good under Emery and first Arteta season. Good luck to him.


What about Cedric?😭😭


That ‘crossed’ my mind.


He stays due to Timber injury. He wasn’t in the group training away.


Emery wanted Zaha, Sanllehi went and got Pépé at a grossly inflated cost. But the cost was able to be spread over – was it 3 or 4 years but Palace wanted it all upfront and we were left with an inferior player. All that money wasted and May happen with Havertz who knows


A well respected organization with a Great history of class and tradition goes out of it’s e way to head hunt you sending its most senior of its employees in the department you are earmarked for.

They not only match your current salary but undertake to harness your potential and accelerate your development on the greatest of stages. Additionally they surround you with high end talent, a performance culture of accountability and integrity.

4 weeks in your career at this organization, you hear customers complaining about your perceived lack of performance. How would you feel?


You’re asking a “normal” person to have empathy for a football player and see them as a fellow human with similar wants and needs. Unfortunately a lot of fans don’t see them as fellow humans though. They think by nature of them playing a game for a living and earning insane salaries they should basically have given up their rights to be human, have emotions, be imperfect and a work in progress like every other person on this planet, they’ve become a product made for our entertainment and we in turn should have the right to talk about them as… Read more »

El Mintero

Oh give us a break with your sanctimoniousness bs. Said individual picks up 300k a week…can’t perform and gets called out. Boo hoo. Meanwhile 99% of the population struggle to get by yet still support their club and the exorbitant ticket prices used to bankroll the 300k “star”who just can’t play in the premiership. And everybody fkn knows it. I’ll be delighted if I’m wrong on that but I don’t think so…


I’d feel like I need to do better


Of course you would.

Public Elneny

To be fair Zaha would probably have cost even more -£80m+ touted at the time, and I doubt he’d have been a great fit here either. At least not for the type of football we play now

People say Emery was harshly done by because we didn’t secure his preferred transfer targets, but Zaha, Banega, Nzonzi… in their late 20s/early 30s. I don’t know. Emery just wasn’t a good fit for us


So curious the way his time with us played out.

The original deal clearly had the stench of dog exhaust, funnelled through a pig sty of suspicion.

But once he was signed (and impossible to move on for a reasonable fee) I really cannot understand how a seemingly inoffensive personality failed to get any minutes at all.

The only conclusion is that with Arteta, you’re all the way in or all the way out.

Something to watch as he manages a squad all vying for 11 starting spots…


He didn’t get minutes because even in his fleeting best moments he wasn’t as good all round as Saka is all the time.

Yankee Gooner

I saw Dog Exhaust back in ‘92 when they opened for Pig Sty of Suspicion.

Bill Hall

I wish him all the best and hope he regains his form be cause he clearly is a very good player!


£72 million gone down the drain with no return. That’s absolutely criminal.

Selling him was the right thing to do, but the transfer was curious from the start.

Glenn Helder's Perm

No return? A goal and assist basically every fourth game? He obviously didn’t fit in with our system under Arteta, and we overpaid, but let’s not get too excited and say we got no return. He’s a talented footballer. Similarly, a player is worth what a club is willing to pay. All those people complaining about getting no money for him, let’s put it this way – it’s common knowledge he’s not wanted at all by us and that we’re desperate to sell. It’s also known he’s on massive wages that we really don’t want to pay anymore… can you… Read more »

El Mintero



Curious? More like spurious

Eric Blair


Although I’m certain Raul was up to his neck in some illegal goings-on, it should be remembered that when he arrived everyone was super excited. I remember Gunner Blog particularly was effusive in his praise of this signing. So, I guess a lot went wrong with Pepe at Arsenal, not just his ridiculous price tag.

El Mintero

Pepe is a great talent…just went the way of auba…if you don’t fit Arteta’s system then bye bye…doesn’t mean he’s not talented. Raul (or don Raul as we all called him when everyone thought he was awesome) was in place for the Emory era not arteta era. Big difference.


Pepe saved Arteta’s job with that FA cup performance. Let’s not forget that.


I’d forgotten that.


Let’s not overstate things. That fa cup win was mostly down to Auba.

Ed W

He was a victim, as were Arsenal, of one of football’s biggest swindles. The culprits should have been jailed.

Lord Bendnter

I never blame Pepe for what has happened. He should never have cost us that much, and if he hadn’t been bought for 72m, we would not be having this conversation and concerns with his sale.
Always remind yourself, this was a transfer that raised red flags and caused an internal investigation of sorts.

Teryima Adi

…and cost some people their jobs, too.


Yeah, ask gunnersaurus.

Vaibhav Pandey

Some credit to the KSE to initiate that action and later getting grip of the business and the club. I am no fan of them but they did well in straightening a lot of things at the club.


You mean KSE did well to not repeatedly throw 72m pf the club’s money away?

Man Manny

Good bye, Pepé. I wanted to say we’ve drawn a line on this kind of signings then I remembered Kai. I hope we are not saying this about Kai in two or three seasons. I really want him to succeed at Arsenal, but if fans keep showing signs of dissatisfaction with him, things could get worse quickly.
Time to get behind Kai and nurse him back to confidence. There is a great player in there.

Dr. Gooner

The crucial difference between them is that Pepe was not brought in by Arteta and was fundamentally a poor fit for our system under Arteta. Kai was earmarked as THE guy for this system. Let’s hope Kai has the type of mentality that makes him resilient to the outside noise and willing/able to add new strings to his bow. If he can do those things, he will be incredible. If he can’t, he’ll be a bit part contributor until his contract expires.

El Mintero



Careful now!

Teryima Adi

Congrats, Pepe. Here’s wishing you all the best in all your future endeavours.
Blessings 🙏🏾

Der Kaiser

Funny one. Price tag was too high for a one season wonder in the French league. Did OK and goal ratio not that bad. Always seemed very one- footed and therefore bit of a one trick pony. Tracking back not his thing. Personally always thought could still be good back up to Saka

No evidence but always got the impression he never really settled in this country in contrast to say Odegaard

I wish him well!


He’s an introvert by nature, which makes it far harder to learn a language (I know!), which in turn makes it harder to settle in and feel valued. It’s a tough world, hope he finds life easier in Turkey.

djourou's nutmeg

he’s a strange phenomenon, because he embodies everything that was rotten in this club before arteta came: an overly expensive player who never shows up when it matters, who doesn’t give his all in any challenge, who strolls around the field most of the time unsure of what he’s doing. the pinnacle of the “confidence” and “mentality” issues that so many years haunted us and fueled so much hate from the fans, yet that side of him seems to be easily waved off by fans who rather focus on a few nutmegs per season and a couple curlers in the… Read more »


“who doesn’t give his all in any challenge, who strolls around the field” If this was at all true do you honestly think Arteta or Emery would’ve given him any game time??

djourou's nutmeg

yes. we had plenty of players whom im sure arteta would’ve rather not have, but he did what he could with the squad he had. he rather play willian before pepe, what other signs do you need to wake up?


Not sure he got the best advice from his agents. Not sure how much that plays into it But Mikel is intelligent enough to recognise when a player doesn’t want to improve everyday kudos for improving his tracking back and work rate. But at this level that isn’t enough and he can only look at himself as to why he didn’t work on his combination play or find a way to attack around the outside which Saka is able to do without using his right foot, Glad he will go to a league where he can be appreciated. Just goes… Read more »

mike D

It baffles me that he went for zero – OK, first touch and workrate not great but his GI wasn’t that bad (better than Antony and Sancho combined) and he could score a banger from time to time. It seems odd that not one PL team would take a punt for say 10 million or something. Ah well, he did bring the FA cup home and best of luck to him in Turkey.


i hope he goes there and fills the net and enjoys his time in a wonderful country.

Merlin's Panini

Really sad it didn’t work out for him. He’s a very gifted player with gamechanging abilities. It’s just a shame he’s not the right fit for the club. He really should have gone for a fee, but I guess the wages were too high.
I still rate him and think the change could reignite his career.
Not many players score two freekicks in one game.


Well, now he joins Zaha in Turkey.

Hope you start to enjoy your football again, Pepe!


Good luck Pepe. I hope you can reignite your career.


Emery wanted Zaha at Crystal Palace but Raul signed Pepe instead from another one of his list of super agents and also took some money from the deal. That’s why Raul was removed eventually. A very dark period in Arsenal’s history.


Everyone keep talking about how saka’s brilliance put him on the neck when we all know arteta signed fvcking Willian to bench him arteta never liked the guy from say one even when pepe played his best, scored goals , won motm, arteta still put him on the bench. It has nothing to do with saka. One of the players that was badly treated by the manager. He didn’t deserve the treatment arteta gave him.
I hope he stays injury free to rejuvenate his career. Good luck to him.

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