Pepe 'phenomenal' but 'needs to play'published at 11:48
Mikel Arteta has praised Nicolas Pepe's attitude at Arsenal but says the winger needed to head out on loan to play the minutes he craves.
When asked if the £72m fee paid by the Gunners in 2019 weighed heavy on the winger, Arteta said: "I think Nico has tried to deal with that in the best possible way. He is not responsible for the price that a club pays for him.
"He has tried everything, his attitude is just phenomenal. You have to meet the person because you have to love him for the way he is.
"But in terms of the decisions you have to make on the pitch and who you have to select, we have made other decisions and obviously that has had an impact in the chances he has had to prove his quality.
"It has now been three years since he joined the club and he has some very good moments, some others where he hasn’t really contributed that much to the team in terms of minutes.
"We have decided for every party that it was the best decision to allow him to go. He needs to play minutes, he needs to play football and he was really adamant to do that."
On whether Pepe's exit means Arsenal will bring in a replacement before the transfer window ends, Arteta said: "If we can implement the plan that we have we will try to do it.
"In the plan that (Pepe leaving) was something that could happen, now it’s a reality. We have been preparing the last two months in order to achieve what we want. Whether that’s possible or not we will see."