Nicolas Pepe tells agent he wants to leave Arsenal as club identify replacement

Mikel Arteta reviews Arsenal's defeat at Newcastle

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Nicolas Pepe has reportedly told his agent that he wants to leave Arsenal this summer as the club continue to chase Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus as his potential replacement. The Ivorian has scarcely featured under Mikel Arteta this season and is understood to have now expressed a desire to depart the Emirates at the end of the current campaign.

The 27-year-old will assess his options this summer having instructed his recently-hired agent to find him a new club, according to football.london. It appears Pepe may well be granted his wish as the report goes on to state Arsenal are expected to entertain offers for the forward, with manager Mikel Arteta understood to have deemed him dispensable.

Pepe joined the Gunners for a club-record £72million from Lille in the summer of 2019, however, the winger has struggled to recapture the fine form which saw him command such a sizeable fee. This season, Pepe has contributed a mere three goals and five assists across 21 appearances for the North Londoners.

The player’s reported admission comes amid continued speculation that Arsenal are keen to acquire Pepe’s potential replacement in Jesus. The Gunners are understood to be in close contact with the City forward having lodged initial enquiries over the Brazilian back in November.

Arsenal technical director Edu is said to have developed a close relationship with both Jesus’s agent and the player himself, who appears to be open to leaving City this summer ahead of the impending arrival of Erling Haaland. It is expected that the Gunners will submit an offer in the region of £35m to City in a bid to secure the striker’s services.

However, Jesus’ willingness to join Arteta’s ranks may well be compromised by Arsenal’s failure to secure Champions League football next season. A damaging 2-0 defeat to Newcastle on Monday night has left the Gunners two points adrift of bitter rivals Tottenham heading into the Premier League’s final day of the season and hoping already-relegated Norwich can pull off an upset at the weekend.

Arsenal face plenty of competition over Jesus with the likes of AC Milan, Juventus and Newcastle also rumoured to have expressed an interest in the 25-year-old. Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans is another who has been heavily linked with a move to the Gunners.

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It remains to be seen whether or not a lack of participation in next season’s Champions League will impact Arsenal’s summer shopping plans, but speaking last month, Edu expressed his excitement at the prospect of adding to the club’s squad in the upcoming transfer window.

“There was no point in hiring one or two players [in January], the squad was not prepared to absorb two players, we needed to rebalance the squad. Maybe next season we can go to one or two players,” the Gunners chief admitted to ESPN Brasil.

“Today we find a much more balanced squad. Our planning has already been done, it has already reached the owners. It’s a matter of step by step, how we are going to finish the season and to put in place the planning that I’m very excited about.”

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