The latest news indicates that the club could terminate Nicolas Pepe’s contract, marking the ninth big-name player to have his contract terminated by Arteta.
Since taking over as Arsenal’s manager in December 2019, Mikel Arteta has shown a determination to reshape the squad to fit his vision. This includes letting go of players who don’t align with his tactical approach or those not performing to the expected standards.
The decision to terminate contracts has been significant, with the following big-name players already released:
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan
- Shkodran Mustafi
- Mesut Ozil
- Sead Kolasinac
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
- Hector Bellerin
Now, with Nicolas Pepe on the verge of becoming the ninth player to have his contract terminated, it’s clear that Arteta is prioritising a certain playing style and performance level over keeping well-known talents in the squad.
The Case of Nicolas Pepe
Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal’s former £72 million record signing, spent the last season on loan at Nice and has not been part of the club’s pre-season preparations.
With his number 19 shirt handed to Leandro Trossard and no future at Arsenal, a termination is imminent.
The Ivorian international winger might receive a £7.5 million pay-off just to leave, as the club has had no offers to sell him for the desired £10 million.
This situation exemplifies the tough decision-making involved in contract termination, where the club may feel it’s better to pay a player to leave rather than keep paying his wages, especially when not performing.
Arsenal’s decision to terminate contracts has not been without cost. The majority of the released players received hefty pay-offs to leave.
Sporting director Edu’s statement, “When a player is 26 or older, has a big salary and is not performing, he is killing you. They don’t have a transfer value and sometimes it’s better to pay a player to leave than it is to keep them,” reflects the club’s stance.
Arsenal’s strategy of terminating contracts to shape the team is a bold move that aligns with Arteta’s vision but carries financial implications. The clearout of big-name players like Pepe signals a new era for the club and a willingness to make difficult decisions.