Pepe has subsequently fallen down Arteta’s pecking order and had been usurped by Bukayo Saka by the time he was loaned out to Nice last summer.
The Ivory Coast international spent an underwhelming season back in Ligue 1 and has been the recipient of limited transfer interest over the course of a summer during which he was left out of Arsenal’s pre-season tour and asked to train away from the first team squad.
Despite failing to recruit back-up for Saka, who last weekend broke Paul Merson’s Arsenal record by starting an 83rd consecutive match, the Gunners are said to be contemplating terminating Pepe’s contract, rather than retain his services.
Asked to provide an update on the 28-year-old’s future ahead of Sunday’s showdown against Manchester United, Arteta said: ‘We are still looking for solutions.
‘There is a lot of communication between his agent and the player and the club at the moment but there is nothing else to announce at the moment.’
Arsenal, meanwhile, shied away from spending on deadline day with Arteta more than satisfied with the club’s recruitment over the course of the summer, despite an injury to Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz’s early teething problems.
‘I tell you what I feel about him, that I love him, that I see his qualities every single day in training,’ said Arteta on Friday, launching a staunch defence of the former Chelsea forward. ‘His work rate is excellent, a lot of the things that he’s done for the team is so good.
“The visual one, the one with the stats at the moment is what is missing to put the ball in the net and to arrive on those zones and have a different impact in the game, but for the rest is that.
“It’s difficult to ask, especially our people in our stadium and our supporters for more, but my feeling is, give him love and we will get the best out of him.
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