Merson: Arsenal would be willing to lose £40m by selling attacker

Paul Merson is of the belief that Arsenal would sell Nicolas Pepe in January “if they could” and that they would accept between £20m and £30m for him.

Pepe enjoyed a stellar season with Lille in 2018/19 as he was involved in 33 goals from his 38 appearances in Ligue 1.

This form tempted Arsenal to break their transfer record to sign him for a fee in the region of £72m.

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The Ivory Coast international has struggled to live up to expectations so far. He has barely featured in recent weeks and he has not started in the Premier League since October.

The 26-year-old was handed a rare start against Sunderland in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.

Pepe impressed as he provided a goal and two assists as Arsenal won 5-1. 

Speaking before the game (as cited by the Daily Mail), Merson said that Pepe has not “been consistent enough” for Arsenal:

“I think if they could sell him in January, they’d probably sell him,” Merson claimed.

“In my opinion, I think he would go and move on if he could. He just hasn’t been consistent enough. The ones in front of him have been consistent.

“He can be an 8/10 or a 4/10. As a manager you just want someone who’ll be a steady seven, seven and a half.”

Merson went onto suggest that Arsenal would let Pepe leave the club for between £20m and £30m:

“Years ago, when you got bought for a lorry load of money, the pressure was on. In this day and age, you can flop and no one says a word.

“Managers would lose their jobs on a big signing, that doesn’t happen anymore.

“They’ll probably sell him for 20-30million and lose 30-40million on him, and no one will say a dickie bird.

“For me, I hope he goes out and enjoys it today. It’s all about attitude. You’re playing at Arsenal, that pitch is mustard.”

Earlier this year, Tony Adams said he was “annoyed” that Arsenal signed Pepe:

“To be honest, there’s an argument that you don’t need Martin Odegaard.

“I got so annoyed that we bought Pepe and Willian in when you’ve got two kids [Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka] bursting into the team.

“There’s other areas in the team that you could look at, there’s holes in that team, we saw how fragile they are defensively. The defence has always been the weak link.

“As the sporting director of Arsenal, you wouldn’t be getting Odegaard in, you’d be getting good, strong defenders into the team instead.”

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