Nice failed to convince Arsenal to include a purchase option, but they did manage to find a compromise on the player’s salary, which was the main obstacle to a deal.
Charles Watts confirmed the agreement, reporting that Pepe will now travel to France for his medical and to finalise the move.
Fabrizio Romano added that Nice will cover the bulk of Pepe’s salary, but evidently not all of it. Romano claims the two clubs have a verbal agreement at this stage, with official documents to be prepared soon and a medical on Thursday.
David Ornstein then weighed in to confirm the agreement between the clubs and add that there’s still some work to do, but the plan is to complete the deal in the coming days.
There’s some debate over whether Pepe’s loan will be done in time for Nice’s match this weekend, with L’Equipe claiming he’ll be available whilst French journalist Saber Desfarges would only guarantee that Pepe will at least be in the stands on Sunday.
Regardless, it looks like the deal will be done well ahead of next week’s transfer deadline.
Pepe clearly needed to leave Arsenal this summer, whether on loan or permanently. He wasn’t playing regular games behind Bukayo Saka, and his form was seemingly suffering from his inconsistent minutes.
A year away in Nice could help to rebuild his confidence and his value in the market ahead of next summer.
In the meantime, Arsenal can put his saved wages towards an alternative, if they can convince a new winger to join the club. But The Athletic report that no incomings are yet close.