Newcastle United ‘would interest’ £72m Arsenal flop as player rejects Premier League rivals

Lewis Oldham
Newcastle target Pepe

According to reports, a move to Newcastle United “would interest” Nicolas Pepe as he looks to kickstart his career following a poor spell at Arsenal.

Pepe’s reputation grew following a stellar period in France with Lille. He grabbed 22 goals and eleven assists for them in Ligue 1 during the 2018/19 campaign.

Arsenal paid £72m to bring him to England in 2019. Playing in the Premier League is known to be a step up compared to Ligue 1.

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The Gunners have discovered over the past couple of seasons that Lille had their pants down in getting £72m for Pepe.

The winger has only been able to impress in fits and starts for the London club and he has largely been a disappointment.

Mikel Arteta showed little faith in Pepe last term, as he only started five times in the Premier League.

One of his starts came at home against Crystal Palace in October. He played the full 90 minutes as Arsenal were fortunate to draw 2-2.

Speaking post-match, ex-Chelsea and Liverpool star Joe Cole questioned Pepe regarding his effort:

“He plays in fits and starts Pepe,” Cole told BT Sport.

“We’ve got a great angle up here and we were watching him, and he was so lacklustre.

“Compare him to Saka on the other side who was full of energy and was vibrant.

“Pepe was wandering, after 30 minutes we were questioning what he was on the pitch for, but he has got the quality and that’s why you pay £70m for him because he can do things like that. You just need to see it more often.”

Newcastle have been linked with the winger in recent months. He hired a new agent in May and this is usually a sign that players are looking for a transfer.

The Magpies have already signed Sven Botman, Nick Pope and Matt Targett on permanent deals this summer. They are also understood to be ‘weighing up an improved bid’ for Leicester City’s James Maddison, who is rated at £60m.

Journalist Dean Jones has now revealed that Pepe is not keen on joining any mid-table Premier League clubs. Yet a move to Newcastle would intrigue him:

“I think that mid-table clubs are interested in him, but I don’t think he’s interested in playing at that level of the Premier League,” Jones told GiveMeSport.

“Although Newcastle would interest him because they’re going to challenge for the top six.”