'I can't wait': Leeds could reportedly try and sign the player who Ezgjan Alioski was so excited to play against
Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

'I can't wait': Leeds could reportedly try and sign the player who Ezgjan Alioski was so excited to play against

Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe has been linked with a move to Leeds United this summer, with Diario De Sevilla reporting that Jesse Marsch’s team amongst those interested. 

Leeds will apparently face a fight for the Ivorian’s signature as the report also claims that La Liga outfit Sevilla have contacted his agents. 

But it isn’t just the battle to sign Pepe that makes the situation intriguing as the 27-year-old has some history with Leeds. Back in November 2020, he was sent off for Arsenal after head-butting former Leeds man Ezgjan Alioski. 

Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

And Alioski was excited to play against Pepe the next time the teams faced off. After Leeds beat Crystal Palace 2-0 just a few months later, Patrick Bamford told Leeds Media about a conversation he had with the North Macedonian winger

Bamford recalled the chat and said: “Do you know what? He (Alioski) said in the changing room, I can’t wait for Sunday.

“I was like ‘why?’. He said ‘because I’m playing against my mate Pepe again’.” 

Alioski seemed to have a way of winding up Pepe, with their battles always highly intriguing.

In the aftermath of the game, Manchester United legend Patrice Evra accused Alioski of going down too easily and claimed he ‘deserves an Oscar’ on Sky Sports

With Leeds reportedly keen on signing the winger this summer, it would be interesting to see how he is received at Elland Road if a deal was to be struck. 

Photo by MOLLY DARLINGTON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Pepe has struggled to live up to the £72 million fee (BBC) the Gunners paid for him back in 2019. He has gradually fallen down the pecking order at Arsenal and it seems they are now keen to offload him. 

The Ivorian made 20 appearances in the Premier League last season, scoring one goal and assisting twice. 

Leeds will most likely be on the lookout for a right-winger as Barcelona announced that they’d reached an agreement for Raphinha on Wednesday (ESPN). 

As for his rival Alioski, he joined Saudi Arabian side Al-Ahli last summer so if Pepe was to join, it would go someway to easing the tension. 

TBR’s View: Pepe would be a gamble for Leeds but it could work brilliantly 

It’s fair to say that Pepe just hasn’t worked out at Arsenal and he needs to move on this summer. While he’s been below par, he has displayed flashes of brilliance that show why Arsenal initially paid so much money for him. 

He could work out to be a great signing for Leeds if he can get back to his best, but that is not guaranteed. And if there are any grudges still held from any of Marsch’s players about the red card incident, then it may be best if Leeds look elsewhere.

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