Arsenal outcast Nicolas Pepe says he is “determined” to fight for his place in 2022/23 and turn his career around in north London.
The club’s record signing has endured a polarising stint at the Emirates since swapping Lille for the Gunners in 2019 for £72m.
The 27-year-old started just five Premier League games last season as Mikel Arteta preferred more youthful options on the flanks, including Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka.
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Pepe has featured extensively this pre-season, starting two of the Gunners’ four friendlies and coming on as a substitute in the other two, most recently appearing from the bench as Arteta masterminded a 4-0 Florida Cup win over London rivals Chelsea.
The Spanish coach has also strengthened his attack considerably this summer, bringing in Gabriel Jesus, Fabio Vieira and Brazilian wonderkid Marquinhos, but Pepe has detailed his aspirations for this forthcoming season and doesn’t appear deterred by the new frontline recruits.
“I worked hard during the summer. Changed a lot of things,” Pepe captioned on his Instagram account.
“I’m focused and determined with Arsenal and my team-mates.”
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The Ivorian has been linked to a host of clubs this summer including Leeds, Newcastle, Marseille, and Sevilla, but his latest social media post would indicate that he has no intention of trying resurrect his career away from north London.
Pepe will no doubt face stern competition for places in Arteta’s starting XI next term given the traffic jam of attacking talent ahead of him in the pecking order. With the signings of Jesus, Vieira and Marquinhos, it’s difficult to see where Pepe fits into the equation if he seeks consistent minutes.
He will have one last chance to impress before Arsenal’s first game of the Premier League season against Crystal Palace when Arteta’s men take on Sevilla in the Emirates Cup this Saturday lunchtime.