Mikel Arteta explains why Nicolas Pepe was left out of Arsenal’s squad to face Bournemouth

Mikel Arteta has explained why Nicolas Pepe was not included in Arsenal’s squad to face Bournemouth on Saturday.

Mikel Arteta has provided an explanation for Nicolas Pepe’s absence from the Arsenal squad.

Pepe had been an unused substitute in both of Arsenal’s first two games of the season, and he was left out altogether on Saturday.

The Ivorian has suffered a disastrous spell since arriving at the Emirates Stadium on a deal worth more than £70million in 2019.

The 27-year-old has scored just 17 goals from 80 appearances, and Arteta appears to have lost patience with the winger.

Pepe has been heavily linked with a loan move away from Arsenal this week, with Nice linked with a move.

The latest reports claim Nice are in active talks with Arsenal over a loan deal, so it’s pretty suspicious that Pepe was not in the squad for Arsenal’s clash with Bournemouth on the South Coast.

Arteta was asked about the situation by Sky Sports ahead of kick-off, and his response was a straightforward one.

“We had to leave three players out of the squad, and we have to select the players we believe is in the best condition,” he said.

If Pepe is not going to play a role going forward, it serves little use to continue putting him on the bench, and the decision appears to have been made over his future.

The update comes after a vague but rather telling response from Arteta over Pepe during his pre-match press conference on Friday.

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“What we can communicate we always do when it’s the right moment,” he said.

“We discussed that we have a big squad and we’ve allowed some players to leave. Until the end of the window anything can happen.’”

It appears Pepe will be heading out, as long as Arsenal can strike a deal.

The Gunners are likely to be keen on Nice having an option to buy, given Pepe would return next summer with just one year remaining on his deal.