Newcastle United journalist Lee Ryder has described links with Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe as ‘intriguing’.
French publication Jeunes Footeux reported earlier this month that Newcastle, Everton and Crystal Palace were all interested in the 26-year-old. Their suggestion was that the Ivory Coast international could leave on loan with an option to buy.
He started five of the Gunners’ first eight Premier League matches this season, but has been an unused substitute for the last three (via Transfermarkt).
Writing in The Chronicle, Ryder stated that the rumour is ‘one of the most intriguing’ to have surfaced of late regarding Newcastle.
He noted Mikel Arteta’s stance that the player is not for sale but pointed out that the Spaniard made similar claims about Joe Willock in the summer before he made the permanent move from the Emirates Stadium to St James’ Park.
This would be a sensational deal when you consider that Pepe ranks as one of the 10 biggest signings in Premier League history.
He has been dismissed as a flop by the likes of Robert Pires, but his stats are actually quite respectable. In 98 appearances for the Gunners, he has been directly involved in 43 goals, scoring 25 and providing 18 assists (via Transfermarkt), a return of one goal contribution every 178 minutes in the Premier League.
Former Arsenal interim boss Freddie Ljunberg is among those who recognise the £31.5m-rated winger’s qualities, describing him as ‘lethal’, and Newcastle could do a lot worse than give him a new lease of life, just as they did with Willock earlier in 2021.
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