Arsenal outcast Nicolas Pepe could become the latest star player to embrace the riches of the Saudi Pro League in one of the most lucrative transfer windows ever.
According to Fabrice Hawkins, the left-footed winger is determined to continue his faltering career in the Middle East after attracting interest from an unnamed Saudi club.
Considering the player is understood to have already given his approval, it’s up to the Premier League heavyweights to define the fee of the deal, with negotiations reportedly underway.
Pepe joined Arsenal in a then-club-record transfer worth £72 million in 2019 after going from strength to strength in back-to-back Ligue 1 campaigns with Lille.
Despite hoisting the FA Cup title in his debut season, his time in London hasn’t been productive, although a decent record of 27 goals and 21 assists from 112 appearances may suggest otherwise.
It has been two years since the Gunners deemed the 28-year-old surplus to requirements, but other than last season’s faint attempt to revive his career at Nice, they’ve been unable to offload Pepe.
His temporary return to Ligue 1 was supposed to help him get back on track, but after making only 19 league appearances, Les Aiglones decided against taking up the buyout option.
Back to the Emirates Stadium with no hope of winning over Mikel Arteta’s confidence, Pepe is ready to move on again and his exit will be permanent.
Like numerous other significant football names, the Ivorian will seek refuge in Saudi Arabia, even though Besiktas have reportedly offered him a chance to stay in Europe.
Pepe has turned down the Super Lig side’s three-year contract offer to accelerate his move to the Gulf state, where he could be reunited with his fellow international colleague Franck Kessie.
However, the Jeddah-based giants have Allan Saint-Maximin, Roberto Firmino and Riyad Mahrez as their attacking options, so they will unlikely be Pepe’s next destination.
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