Nicolas Pepe has left Arsenal after his contract was terminated by the club in for him to join Turkish side Trabzonspor.
Pepe has been in Istanbul completing his move to Turkey as Arsenal look to clean house of their fringe players.
It’s been one of the goals of Sporting Director Edu to move on high-earning players who were underperforming with Pepe ticking that box.
Pepe joined Arsenal from Ligue 1 side Lille for a then club-record fee of £72m in August 2019. The 28-year-old went onto make just 112 appearances for the Gunners, scoring 27 times which makes it all the more disappointing for the move never to work out.
Pepe was a mainstay in the Gunners squad in his first two years at the club but eventually lost his place in the starting XI. That saw him join OGC Nice on loan last season but his return to France was short-lived with injuries preventing him from replicating the form that convinced the Gunners to sign him.
Has Pepe been a flop for Arsenal?
Pepe, 28, arrived at the Emirates to palpable excitement in the summer of 2019 after tearing up Ligue 1 with Lille, but he struggled to make any sort of impact in the Premier League.
It’s left the Gunners taking a significant financial hit on the Ivory Coast international, allowing him to leave for a free and therefore failing to recoup any of the significant fee paid for the winger.
Arsenal have struggled to offload Pepe in recent seasons which might well have been down to his wages. In moving the winger on, Edu is making true of his word to move the high-earning players on who weren’t getting game time.
Speaking last July, the former Invincible said: “If a guy is performing and has a big salary, that’s not a problem. When the player is 26-plus, big salary and he’s not performing, he’s killing you.
“How many players with that kind of characteristics did we have in the past? 80 per cent of the squad. Try to avoid one more year with the problem in the dressing room. Take it out.
“Even if you have to pay because that guy is sometimes blocking someone.”