Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insists the club will not be opening themselves up to offers for Nicolas Pepe in the January transfer window.
The Ivory Coast international winger has struggled to live up to expectations at Emirates Stadium since completing a record-breaking £72 million ($96m) move from Lille during the summer of 2019.
With just 122 minutes of Premier League action seen for the Gunners since the start of October, there have been suggestions that those in north London will look to cut their losses at the next opportunity and reinvest elsewhere.
What has been said?
Arteta is, however, adamant that no exit door is being opened, telling reporters when asked if he would be willing to listen to bids for Pepe: “No, and it is not the moment to talk about that either. We are interested in Nico performing at the level that he can do.
“He had some really good moments since I have been here, some moments where he hasn’t participated that much, like everybody else.”
The bigger picture
There has been talk of the Magpies replicating the recruitment models of Chelsea and Manchester City, with big money invested by two sets of Blues following the arrival of billionaire owners.
Arteta, though, is not convinced that money alone will be enough to tempt top talents to Tyneside, with there no plans on his part to let Pepe discuss such a move.
He added: “I think players should stay at football clubs when they feel that they belong somewhere, when they feel important to it, when they feel value in every single aspect and when that’s the case normally players want to stay.
“When players start to decide something else, [it’s] because they need something different in their futures. Sometimes it is not financial, sometimes it is a sporting reason, sometimes it is family, a problem with adaptation, there are many different cases.”
Pepe registered 16 goals and five assists for Arsenal across all competitions last season, but has just four goal involvements to his name this term – with the back of the net found only once in the Carabao Cup.