Nicolas Pepe shares Instagram story of his return to Arsenal’s training ground amid rumours the £72m forgotten man could make a shock return for Mikel Arteta’s side
- Nicolas Pepe has returned to Arsenal’s London Colney training ground
- The Ivorian winger spent last season on loan at Nice in Ligue 1
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Nicolas Pepe has confirmed his return to training at Arsenal with a dressing room image shared on his Instagram story.
The winger is believed to have trained alone at London Colney after being left out of the Arsenal first-team squad throughout the summer.
He has been linked with a loan move to Besiktas, but it is now possible that he could be re-integrated into Mikel Arteta’s side.
Pepe spent last season on loan at Nice in Ligue 1, scoring eight goals in 28 appearances across all competitions.
During his time in France, the 37-cap Ivory Coast international spoke of how he ‘could have been important’ for Arsenal in their ultimately unsuccessful battle with Manchester City for the Premier League title.
Nicolas Pepe shared a photo of an empty dressing room at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground on his Instagram story
Mikel Arteta allowed Pepe to join Nice on loan last season but could now re-integrate him into his squad
Pepe has one year remaining on his contract at the Emirates Stadium
He told France Bleu: ‘I don’t know what Arsenal want to do. I still have a lot of friends there. I could have been important for this club, but it’s the manager’s choices.’
After signing from Lille for a then club record fee of £72million in August 2019, Pepe was expected to be a key man for Unai Emery’s Arsenal.
He notched 16 goals in his second season at the Emirates but steadily fell down the pecking order as Emery’s replacement Arteta began to shape his ideal squad.
Pepe started just eight matches in the 2021-22 season and Arsenal were more than happy to let him depart at the end of the campaign.
He has just one year left on his contract in north London after Nice turned down the option to buy him permanently in the summer.
A number of Arsenal supporters responded positively to the news that he could be set to return to action.
One tweeted: ‘Nicolas Pepe would be a great back up for Bukayo Saka this season’.
Some Arsenal fans reacted positively on Twitter to the news that Pepe could be set for a return to action at the Emirates
Another added: ‘Unpopular opinion… Nicolas Pepe can still do a job for Arsenal!’
‘If there’s one who deserves a redemption opportunity at Arsenal, that’d be Nicolas Pepe just as we saw with Granit Xhaka,’ said one Arsenal fan.
Another posted: ‘Let’s be honest. Nicolas Pepe is better than Antony and would be a suitable back up to Bukayo Saka at Arsenal. Give him the chance.’
Arsenal are back in action on Monday night when they head to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace.