Arsenal transfer news: Arsenal used Barcelona-style negotiation tactics with Pepe

Nicholas Pepe, Arsenal, 2021/22

Arsenal striker Nicolas Pepe was so desperate to leave the club on loan to Nice that he took a 25% salary cut to move to Ligue 1.

the athlete Arsenal reportedly negotiated a salary cut with the winger, which allowed him to make the transfer after a failed stint at the Emirates Stadium.

Big things were expected of Pepe when he arrived at the club from Lille in the summer of 2019, which would justify his massive £72m (€79m) transfer fee and his estimated £10m-a-year wages.

But his performances on the field did not realize that. He contributed only 27 goals in 112 games for Arsenal and fell steadily out of the picture under Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal disappointment

With only limited playing time last season, Pepe’s wish was to leave the club this summer and only after serious negotiation with Arsenal was he able to do so.

The Gunners contribute 25% of his £10m salary a year while in Nice, with the French club paying half the bill. The other 25% of his wages, Pepe forgoes his wages so that he can return to playing regularly.

It is assumed that Arsenal were not willing to pay his wages during the time he was away from the club, while Nice could not have paid such a large sum.

Nicolas Pepe was sold by Lille to Arsenal for 80 million euros

This represented a coup for the Gunners, who would be happy to save on the majority of Pepe’s wages given how little he produced for them.

Their tactics to force him out of the club, meanwhile, mirror those Barcelona used in the summer transfer window to offload marginalized players. The Catalans, under financial pressure, have constrained their pay bill by negotiating players’ salaries often under some form of duress.

In Pepe’s case, he had the opportunity to play football by accepting a 25% salary cut and felt it was worth the price.

Baby in Nice

He made his debut on Sunday against Marseille in the Derby de la Mediterranee but proved to be an unhappy comeback in France. OM secured a 3-0 victory, with fellow Arsenal loanee Nuno Tavares scoring his third goal for the club after being assisted by Matteo Guendouzi. Another former Gooner, Alexis Sanchez, scored twice in the match.

He lacks a bit of rhythm and intensity in his positioning and pressing and recovering the ball

– Lucien Favre

“He hasn’t played for long in England. He went through the pre-season with Arsenal, but he didn’t play any matches. Pepe’s coach Lucien Favre said at the end of the match that he lacks a little bit of rhythm and intensity in his positions, pressing and getting the ball back, because everyone has to do that.”

“There are no exceptions. If one or two players do not do the work, the whole team is in trouble. Everyone has to do it at the same time, everyone has to defend to get the ball back.”

Nice are off to a slow start to the Ligue 1 season, having only taken two points in four matches, and they are hoping that if Pepe can rediscover his best at Lille, he can launch it back to the table.

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