The total cost of Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe transfer as Mikel Arteta considers nuclear option

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Arsenal could be about to make a costly decision over one of their disappointing signings.

Arsenal could be set to lose an enormous amount of money on flopped signing Nicolas Pepe.

The Ivorian winger was signed by the Gunners back in 2019 on a deal worth a whopping £72million. Pepe was expected to become a superstar at the Emirates Stadium, with Unai Emery identifying him as a key piece in his project at the time. But since then, the now 28-year-old has scored just 16 times in 80 league appearances, assisting only nine times in the Premier League.

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It was known by last summer that Arsenal were done with Pepe, with the Gunners sending him out on loan to OGC Nice.

Pepe would go on to score six in 19 league appearances, but that wasn’t enough to impress Mikel Arteta, who has admitted that the club are now assessing their options.

“He had a spell on loan and obviously we wanted to get much more than we got from that loan spell,” said the Spaniard. “We have to see when we come back (from the US), understand what the plans are and make the right decision for him.”

There was talk of a move to Saudi Arabia for Pepe, but talks are said to have broken down, leaving the winger in limbo this summer. The Sun are now reported that Arsenal could rip up Pepe’s contract if they cannot find a buyer in the coming weeks, but that would mean an enormous loss for the Gunners given their investment.

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Then again, they are only losing more money by the week given Pepe’s £140,000-per-week wage. To go through the figures specifically, Arsenal’s initial investment totalled £72million, but they have paid roughly £17.71million to Pepe in wages since that time.

The winger initially spent two years and three weeks with the club before joining Nice on loan, with Pepe taking a 25% pay cut, and Arsenal paying half of the remaining wages, totalling around £52,500-per-week. Since that loan spell lapsed, Arsenal have been paying Pepe’s normal wage for around three weeks, adding another estimated £420,000 to the bill, and that figure will continue to rise by £140,000 for every week Arsenal don’t find a buyer.

That makes the bill £89.71million minus any loan fee paid by Nice, which was not made public. Of course, Arsenal can write some of that cost off with Pepe’s production, given he did still contribute 27 goals and 21 assists across all competitions.

But there’s no doubting that the Gunners have still lost a huge chunk of money, with Pepe now valued at around £15.5million by Transfermarkt. The question now is whether Arsenal are better off cancelling Pepe’s contract, given his high wages. Though, the Gunners would have to have Pepe on the books for another 72 weeks for him to cost another £10million, so even if they could get that fee, they may be better off keeping hold of him for now.

The problem is the potential impact of keeping Pepe around, with Arteta’s first-choice squad in mind, while the Spanish boss also wants to do right by the player.

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