Arsenal are willing to listen to proposals for record signing Nicolas Pepe in order to create finances for another summer buying binge.
They are, however, prepared to take a significant financial hit on the Ivorian international, who cost £72 million when he arrived from Lille three years ago.
Mikel Arteta’s long-term plans do not include the 26-year-old winger, who has not started a Premier League game in more than six months.
And, with their youthful team severely depleted by a series of recent departures, Pepe is seen as one of the few remaining periphery players capable of commanding a fee.
He still has two years left on his £140,000-a-week Arsenal deal, and matching those salaries might be a huge stumbling barrier for potential suitors.
However, after being an almost permanent fixture on the substitutes’ bench this season, the player has grown increasingly unhappy with his lack of first-team involvement.
And, with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe, and on-loan Reece Nelson all vying for wide attacking roles, Arsenal is not short of options if Pepe departs.
It is now believed that the club would be willing to let him depart for a cost of approximately £25 million before his worth plummets much lower.
When owner Stan Kroenke dug into his wallet to personally pay Pepe’s contract in the summer of 2019, there were high expectations.
However, he has been a significant disappointment in England during his three seasons there and would welcome a return to one of the top French teams, as well as a move to Spain or Italy.
And his departure might help bolster the Emirates’ finances, since Arteta has stated that he plans to add up to seven players to his team this summer.
With two attackers, a central midfielder, and a couple of full-backs on the shopping list, most of the money will be determined by the team’s ability to finish fourth this season.
This would result in a Champions League windfall of almost £80 million, considerably improving Arsenal’s prospects of attracting the sort of player Arteta feels his squad still need.
After spending £154 million on six new recruits last summer, the Emirates are expecting another busy summer of transfer activity.
Bernd Leno, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Hector Bellerin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pablo Mari, and Konstantinos Mavropanos are among the other players scheduled to be sold.
Free agents Alex Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, and Mohamed Elneny are also set to leave.