Nicolas Pepe leaving Arsenal could be a boost for current club captain Martin Odegaard. The former record signing is set to head through the exit door and get his hefty salary off the Gunners’ wage bill.
Pepe has been left out in the cold by Mikel Arteta since he returned from his loan spell at Nice last season. He was unable to earn a permanent move to the French side after an underwhelming spell in Ligue 1.
He has trained away from the rest of the Arsenal first-team squad since returning to London Colney. Arsenal were unable to find a club willing to buy Pepe before the majority of transfer windows in Europe’s major leagues shut last week.
However, some countries are still able to make signings. Turkish side Besiktas are interested in Pepe and French outlet L’Equipe claimed on Monday that he was undergoing a medical ahead of completing a move.
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Pepe has also been linked with the Saudi Pro League ahead of its window shutting on Thursday. Once he does leave, it could be good news for Odegaard.
Pepe is one of the higher earners at Arsenal on around £140,000 a week. He has entered the final year of that contract and the Gunners have held discussions about possibly terminating it early.
Getting Pepe’s salary off the books will free up funds for other players. According to Spotrac, Odegaard is only the 10th-best-paid player in the Arsenal squad.
The Norwegian is said to earn £115,000 a week, less than half of the likes of Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus and Declan Rice. Odegaard hasn’t signed a new contract since he joined Arsenal on a permanent basis in the summer of 2021.
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But Fabrizio Romano claimed last month that talks had been opened about a new deal and that it was set to be a priority for the club for the remainder of 2023. Odegaard’s representatives will surely be demanding wages nearer to the highest earners at the club and Pepe’s departure will give Arsenal room to fulfil their request.
Odegaard has built a reputation as one of the finest attacking midfielders in the Premier League since the start of last season. The 24-year-old has 17 goals in 41 top-flight appearances in that time, also registering seven assists.
His current contract expires in the summer of 2025. Arsenal have the option to extend it by a further year but want to tie him down on a longer deal as well as reward him for his performances.
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