Nicolas Pepe to Besiktas is certainly a very strange story, as far as transfer sagas go. The Arsenal forward, who signed for a club record £72 million when moved over from Lille a few years ago is still in play to leave the club soon, but not for Besiktas in the Turkish Super Lig as had been reported. Instead the possible destination is Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab FC.
The Turkish club have denied the widespread reports that claimed Pepe was having a medical and finalizing his move.
Nicolas Pepe’s move to Besiktas has been blocked again despite passing medical tests and agreeing to join the club. ???????
— Transfer Core (@TransferCore_) September 5, 2023
According to The Daily Cannon, “Turkish journalist Firat Gunayer reported that the source of the update was Pepe’s agent, who was feeding the information to L’Equipe to try and make the move a reality.”
Ahhhhh, the ‘ol “agent-driven” routine- planting fake news in the media. Okay, so Nicolas Pepe isn’t going to Turkey, but a Middle East move could still be in the works.
TheSecretScout (with a h/t from football.london) report that Pepe and Arsenal have received an offer from Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab FC, with the player’s reps heading to the Arabian peninsula now to try and hammer out the deal before the Saudi deadline closes on Thursday.
The report goes on to say that Arsenal are only looking to get a small sum in return, about £2m, for the out of favor forward who spent last season out on loan at Nice. Considering that manager Mikel Arteta has absolutely no place at all, anywhere (even though he actually fits in perfectly as the back-up to Bukayo Saka and as a first team forward for cup competition), for the Ivory Coast international, getting anything in return would be a boost.
Plus they would get his very high wages off their payroll. Nicolas Pepe, who still has one year left to run on his Arsenal deal, may be considered a major flop, but his numbers tell a different story. His goal involvement numbers are actually pretty solid.
If this doesn’t go through however, maybe another Turkish Super Lig team, other than Besiktas, might sign Pepe? Their transfer window closes on September 15th.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.