Newcastle United target Nicolas Pepe would be interested in a move to St James’ Park, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.
The Lowdown: Pepe’s Arsenal career
Having failed to live up to expectations following his club-record £72m move from French side Lille to Arsenal in 2019, the £140,000-per-week forward has fallen out of favour at the Emirates Stadium under Mikel Arteta.
According to a report by 90min, Newcastle have been offered the opportunity to sign the Ivory Coast international, whose meagre tally of 681 top-flight minutes last season has led to speculation surrounding his future with the Gunners.
The Latest: Jones’ claim
With the 27-year-old likely to seek a move away from Arsenal given his lack of minutes on the pitch, Jones believes that an ambitious club like Newcastle could meet the player’s criteria.
Speaking with GiveMeSport, the transfer insider claimed: “I think that midtable clubs are interested in him, but I don’t think he’s interested in playing at that level of the Premier League, although Newcastle would interest him because they’re going to challenge for the top six.”
The Verdict: Could reprise his career
When looking at Pepe’s underlying statistics, it is easy to see why Eddie Howe’s side could be excited about the prospect of reigniting the winger’s Premier League career.
As per FBRef, compared with positional peers across Europe over the past year, the attacker ranks in the 98th percentile for touches in the attacking penalty area, the 96th percentile for aerial duels won and the 91st percentile for non-penalty expected goals.
Should Newcastle sign Pepe?
Talent scout Jacek Kulig previously claimed that Pepe “destroyed Ligue 1”, and his statistics from his final season with Lille back up that statement. During the 2018/19 campaign, the Ivorian racked up 22 goals and 11 assists in 37 starts for Les Dogues.
Therefore, if Howe is able to reinvigorate Pepe to reprise that kind of form for the Magpies, the 27-year-old could end up being a great prospective signing for Newcastle.
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