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Report: Nicolas Pepe having Besiktas medical ahead of transfer

The Ivorian is reportedly in Paris sorting the details on a move.

Chelsea v Arsenal - Florida Cup Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Nicolas Pepe is having a medical in Paris ahead of a move to Turkish side Besiktas, according to L’Equipe. The French paper reports that the Ivorian has accepted a contract proposal from the club and that a move is imminent.

It’s not clear whether Arsenal will receive a nominal transfer fee or if the club will terminate his contract to facilitate the move to clear his £140K wages from the books. The move could also be a simple loan. Less reliable sources have reported that it will be a nominal fee.

Even though the transfer window closed on September 1st in the U.K., it remains open in Turkey through September 15th. Interestingly, the transfer period is open in several other countries, most notably Saudi Arabia, whose clubs had been linked with a move for Pepe at various points over the summer.

Arsenal were never going to come close to recouping the £72M spent to purchase Pepe from Lille in 2019, a move so outrageously poor that it contributed to Raul Sanllehi being ushered out the door at Arsenal. The amount was at least double what the winger should have cost, and non-trivial amounts of the fee went towards agent fees.

It was a club record fee at the time, and Pepe’s returns were always going to struggle to match the outlay. For that kind of money, he needed to be a Premier League star, but he was never more than a supporting actor. His Arsenal scoring record isn’t terrible — 27 goals and 21 assists in 112 appearances is nothing to sneeze at. But his tenure at the club was basically doomed from the start: the expectations were astronomically high, he was playing in an Unai Emery system that did not highlight his strengths nor generally encourage attacking, and he’s at best a good, not great, footballer.

Despite the criticism I’ve leveled at Pepe over the past few years, I bear him no ill-will. He was put in an impossible situation. It’s best for everybody that he and Arsenal part ways.