Arsenal have effectively paid £10m for Nicolas Pepe to complete transfer exit


Nicolas Pepe has left Arsenal, with his £72million nightmare now behind him, as he makes the move to Turkish Super Lig outfit Trabzonspor. But murmurs of 'overpaying' for the winger are still present.

The forward had his Arsenal contract terminated this week, with a move to Trabzonspor secured. Terminating his contract gets him off the wage bill, but in fact, the Gunners are still paying off the £72million transfer fee from four years ago after signing the Ivory Coast international from Ligue 1 outfit Lille on the back of an impressive season where the forward weighed in with 23 goals and provided 12 assists in 41 appearances across all competitions.

As revealed by in October 2020, a two-day meeting between Arsenal officials and Lille representatives helped smooth over negotiations - a record deal for the Gunners at the time - as an agreement was reached for staggered payments, which is the case with most big-money transfers.

This structure has allowed the Gunners to pay Lille in yearly installments with the first transaction at £20million in the summer of 2019 with the Daily Mail also revealing that the remaining £52million would be paid within five years which works out to be a sum of £10.4million a season.

Assuming this year's transaction has already gone through, Arsenal have now paid £61.6million of the fee which means they must make one final payment - unless there are plans to clear this early - and that can be partially funded by the club saving around £7million on wages.

Interestingly, the north London outfit have Pepe to thank for not paying an extra £10million as Serie A giants Napoli, at the time, had made a bid in excess of £85million - excluding performance bonuses which would have taken the fee even higher - but as explained by former Lille owner Gerard Lopez, it was clear the winger only had eyes for the Gunners.

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"No, Arsenal did one hell of a deal," Lopez told talkSPORT. "They got a player that other people wanted and they got a player whom one club were offering more money for. It was Pepe's management team that asked us to go to Arsenal and so we accepted slightly less money than we would have got somewhere else.

"Some people know that, I know publicly some agents have said that but something that needs to go on record – we didn’t sell him to the highest bidder."

Despite struggling for consistency during his debut campaign for Arsenal where he played under three different managers in Unai Emery, Freddie Ljungberg and Mikel Arteta, Pepe still chipped in with a respectable eight goals and 10 assists across all competitions and also forced his way into the starting line-up in the 2020 FA Cup final.

And with his second season bringing about an increase in his goal contributions (16g, 5a) it appeared he was becoming a regular under Arteta. However, the emergence of Bukayo Saka saw his game time reduce and after spending last season on loan with OGC Nice, he's now got a fresh start in Turkey with Trabzonpor.

Ultimately Pepe showed glimpses of fulfilling the weighty expectations put on his shoulders after becoming Arsenal's club record signing, but ultimately he never quite reached those heights and the mantle has since been taken over by Declan Rice who is showing promising signs of living up to his £105million transfer fee.

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