Despite struggling to establish himself this season, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has stated that Nicolas Pepe would not be leaving the Emirates Stadium in January.
Pepe joined Arsenal from Lille in 2019 for £72 million, with the Ivorian winger scoring 22 Ligue 1 goals in his final season in France.
He looked to be making improvement last season after a difficult first year in England, which was made worse by the coronavirus pandemic, and even scored 10 goals in the Premier League, matching Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's tally.
Pepe, however, appears to have taken a step back this season. Since mid-September, he has only started one Premier League game and hasn't played at all since the middle of October. In three of Arsenal's previous four league games, he has also been an unused sub.
Despite mounting rumours that the Gunners may release him, Arteta has categorically denied this notion.
“No, and it is not the moment to talk about that either,” the Spaniard told his weekly press conference when the subject came up.
“We are interested in Nico performing at the level that he can do.
“He had some really good moments since I have been here, some moments where he hasn’t participated that much, like everybody else.”
Pepe was an unused sub in the Gunners' 2-0 win against Newcastle United. The three points move Mikel Arteta's side up the table to the 5th spot, and they face Man United later on in the week.