Nicolas Pepe was part of clique that Mikel Arteta felt held Arsenal back
Posted by  badge Boss on Sep 13, 2023 - 07:20PM
The winger has now left the Gunners to join Turkish side Trabzonspor (Picture: Getty)

was part of a clique with fellow former players and which ultimately led to his departure from the north London club, according to reports.

Arsenal spent a then club-record fee of £72million in 2019 to sign Pepe on a five-year deal from French club Lille after he scored 22 goals in 38 league games the season prior.

But he failed to live up to expectations during his four-year spell at Arsenal, struggling for form and fitness before eventually being usurped by Bukayo Saka in the starting line-up.

The Ivorian spent last season back in Ligue 1 at Nice – scoring six league goals in 19 appearances – but returned to Arsenal this summer when the French club turned down the chance to make the loan move permanent.

Having attracted little transfer interest in the summer window, Pepe subsequently had the , allowing him to join Turkish side Trabzonspor on a free transfer.

The 28-year-old ended his Arsenal career with 27 goals in 112 games and recent reports can perhaps begin to shed light on why the winger’s spell at the club didn’t go to plan.

Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang formed a clique at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Pepe is said to have formed a three-man clique alongside Lacazette and Aubameyang during his time at the Emirates, with the trio spending a lot of time together.

According to, manager Mikel Arteta was not happy with the emergence of the small, breakaway group and increasingly felt it was stiffling the club’s progress.

Pepe is also said to have gained a reputation as being one of the last out onto the training pitches and rarely spoke to club staff who did not work with the first team.

The report also claims that Pepe would ‘hang back’ with Lacazette and Aubameyang in the changing room while the other players went out for sessions on time.

The writing has been on the wall for Pepe for some time and all three players have now left the club as Arteta installed new leaders in the dressing room and created a more cohesive environment.

Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy in December 2021 after a series of disciplinary breaches, with the striker later moving to Barcelona at the end of the January window that season.

Lacazette became first-choice captain until the end of that season but, at the end of the campaign, the striker also departed the club and returned to Lyon.

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