Crystal Palace could seal a dream transfer deal after being linked with a move for Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe ahead of the upcoming January transfer window.
According to French outlet Jeunes Footeux (as relayed by SportWitness), the Eagles are one of several Premier League clubs keen to acquire the 26-year-old’s services over the coming months.
The report claims that Newcastle United and Everton are also interested in ending Pepe’s nightmare spell at the Emirates Stadium, with a three-way tussle set to ensure for the flying forward.
However, the trio are all favour of a short-term loan move with an option to buy at the end of the season following his recent struggles, and Arsenal are expected to accept those terms given the circumstances.
Pepe became Arsenal’s club-record signing after they splashed out a whopping £72m to prize him away from Lille back in the summer of 2019, sparking hope that he could fire the club back to the upper echelons of the Premier League.
Despite that, things have not gone to plan for the Ivory Coast international. In his maiden campaign, the pacey attacker fell way below the expectations placed upon him, managing a mere five goals and six assists in 31 top-flight outings.
Last season, though, saw an upturn in fortunes for Pepe as he appeared to finally settle into his new surroundings and become accustomed to his teammates.
The Ivorian racked up very respectable 21 goal contributions in 47 appearances throughout 2020/21 and earned praise from BT Sport pundit Joe Cole following an eye-catching cameo from the bench against Burnley.
“He had an impact,” Cole said in his post-match analysis. “This is the role I think he plays now, he comes on and makes things happen. He came on the pitch, and he had a go, he made a difference.”
Despite his controversial two-and-a-half-year spell in north London, the £31.5m-rated Pepe has perhaps been a victim of his astronomical price tag more than anything else.
A return of 25 goals and 18 assists in 98 games would have been a more than acceptable tally for a player who cost half as much as the fee Arsenal handed over to Lille, something that is ultimately out of Pepe’s control.
Therefore, with the added safety net of the initial six-month loan spell, Steve Parish must try to lure the 6-foot wizard to south London.
Pepe has the ability to be a top-class performer on his day, and if Patrick Vieira can extract consistent performances from him, then it could turn into a dream move for all parties.