Arsenal ready to listen to offers for £72m record signing Nicolas Pepe to generate funds for summer transfer spree

ARSENAL are ready to listen to offers for record signing Nicolas Pepe as they look to generate funds for another summer spending spree.

But they are resigned to taking a massive hit on the Ivorian international who cost £72million when he joined from Lille three years ago.

The 26-year-old winger has not started a Premier League game for more than six months and does not feature prominently in Mikel Arteta’s long-term plans.

And with their young squad already cut to the bone by a number of recent departures, Pepe is regarded as one of the few remaining fringe players who could generate any kind of fee.

He still has two years of his £140,000-a-week Arsenal contract to run and matching those wages could prove a major stumbling block for interested clubs.

But the player has become increasingly frustrated with his lack of first team action after becoming an almost permanent fixture on the subs’ bench this season.

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And with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe and the on loan Reece Nelson all competing for the wide attacking positions, Arsenal are not short of options should Pepe leave.

Now it is understood that the club would be prepared to let him leave for a fee of around £25million before his value drops even further.

There were huge hopes for Pepe when owner Stan Kroenke dipped into his pocket to personally fund the player’s signing in the summer of 2019.

But he has been a major disappointment during his three seasons in England and would welcome a return to one of the major French teams or a move to Spain or Italy.

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And his departure could help to swell the Emirates coffers after Arteta spoke of boosting his squad by as many as seven players this summer.

With two two strikers, a central midfield player and a couple of full-backs on the shopping list, much of the budget will be dictated by whether the team can secure a top finish this season.

That would bring in a Champions League windfall in the region of £80million and significantly improve Arsenal’s chances of recruiting the level of player Arteta believes his team still needs..

After spending £154million on six new signings last year, it is set to be another busy summer of transfer activity at the Emirates.

Among the other players who are set to be sold are Bernd Leno, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Hector Bellerin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pablo Mari and Konstantinos Mavropanos.

Alex Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Mohamed Elneny are also expected to leave as free agents.

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