Arsenal announced on Saturday that they have released striker Nicolas Pepe of Ivory Coast to sign with Trabzonspor of Turkey’s Super Lig.
With a then-record transfer price of about $90 million, the Gunners acquired the 28-year-old in 2019 from Ligue 1 club Lille. With this summer’s $130 million pound transfer of England midfielder Declan Rice from West Ham, they set a new record transfer fee.
Pepe was never able to establish himself with the Gunners, moving to a supporting role until he finally started his last Premier League game for the club in October 2021. He was on loan at French club Nice last year and scored eight goals in 28 games.
Pepe latest player to see contract torn up under Arteta
Although Pepe rejoined Arsenal this summer, he did not take part in the team’s preseason. The team has given him permission to seek a new team for quite some time.
Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac, Willian, and Hector Bellerin all left the club during Mikel Arteta’s tenure as manager.
Now, the Ivorian winger is the latest player to have his contract canceled.
In a press release, the English side said: “We can confirm that Nicolas Pepe is leaving the club. We have agreed with Nicolas to terminate his contract with immediate effect. Everyone at Arsenal thanks Nicolas for his contribution during his time with us and wish him well for the future.”
Arsenal still owe $12m to Lille
Pepe was one of the highest-paid players for Arsenal, but he was already prepared to accept a wage reduction in order to finally escape north London.
By getting rid of the winger, the Gunners will save between $8.7 million and $11.2 million every year.
The only problem is that the Gunners made a big deal about signing the player from Lille in 2019, promising to pay the total sum in installments. The Evening Standard reports that they have yet to pay another installment worth almost $12.4 million.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire
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