The Times have claimed that Mikel Arteta will hold a behind-the-scenes meeting with Arsenal attacker Nicolas Pepe following his red card against Leeds United on Sunday afternoon – with a January decision expected.
Pepe, 25, was sent off on Sunday during the 0-0 draw with Leeds after VAR replays showed the Ivorian headbutting Gjanni Alioski. It will see Pepe ruled out for Arsenal’s next three domestic matches, against Wolves, Tottenham and Burnley.
The report claims Arteta will hold talks with Pepe privately this week – as he did with Willian who took a trip to Dubai and Matteo Guendouzi, when the Frenchman’s behaviour came into question. But Pepe is not expected to be fined.
Indeed, the former Lille star is also supposedly set to be in the Arsenal squad for Thursday’s clash against Molde – with Pepe unavailable for the weekend match against Wolves. A potential loan move in January is expected to be ignored.
TBR’s view – Should Pepe be concerned about his Arsenal future?
Although he may find that he is given a reprieve in January, and handed the time to show why the Gunners spent £72million on his signature, Pepe is hardly safe from an Arsenal cull next summer. He has failed to prove his fee.
The Gunners may have to cash in – though if they do opt to sell Pepe, the chances they will receive a fee close to the one they paid for is going to be much smaller. Indeed, even half the club-record sum is unlikely.
Pepe should be concerned if he cannot recapture his Lille form before next summer, but at least he has until then.