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Arsenal boss Arteta hints at deal to replace Pepe

Mikel Arteta said on Friday Arsenal could sign a replacement for Nicolas Pepe after the Ivory Coast winger left the Premier League leaders to join Nice.

Pepe’s loan move to Ligue 1 has increased the chances of Arsenal making another move into the transfer market before the summer window closes on September 1.

Arsenal has been linked with a move for Wolves winger Pedro Neto and Arteta admitted he could adapt his transfer philosophy after prioritising early deals for Manchester City duo Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko at the start of the window.

“We have done it in a different way. At the start of the window we signed players before getting other players out,” Arteta told reporters.

“Now we have done something different, we have let a player go and maybe we’ll be able to recruit somebody.

“But it’s not a guarantee because the players are still not here. What I guarantee is the day the window closes, for me this is the best team in the world and I will try to get the best out of them, that’s it.”

Arsenal are the only club to boast a perfect start to the Premier League season with three successive wins.

They host Fulham on Saturday looking to consolidate their surprise position at the top of the table.

Pepe’s departure removes one distraction after Arsenal’s club record £72 million ($85 million) failed to live up to the hefty price tag following his 2019 move from Lille.

Arteta praised Pepe’s attitude during his struggles, but conceded the loan move was best for a player who scored 27 goals in 111 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal.

“I think Nico has tried to deal with that in the best possible way, he is not responsible for the price a club pays for him,” Arteta said.

“He has tried everything, his attitude is just phenomenal. You just have to meet the person because you just love him for the way he is.

“It’s been three years and he had some very good moments, some others where he hasn’t really contributed much in terms of minutes.

“We decided for every party it was the best decision to allow him to go. He needs to play minutes, he needs to play football. He was really adamant to do that and we decided that it would be best for everybody to do it.”

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