Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta discusses transfer ‘threat’ on Nicolas Pepe after red card

Nicolas Pepe came under fire from Mikel Arteta at the weekend but the Arsenal boss has shut down any suggestions the winger could be sold. Pepe was handed a rare start in the Premier League against Leeds with Arteta looking to change things up in his front line.

The Ivory Coast international has impressed in the Europa League with two goals and two assists through the opening three group games.

And Arteta chose to reward Pepe by giving him his second league start of the season on Sunday.

But the 25-year-old struggled to impose himself on the game with Arsenal failing to register a shot on target in the first half.

Things went from bad to worse shortly after the restart though after Pepe retaliated to Ezgjan Alioski, headbutting the Leeds star.

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Pepe was subsequently shown a straight red with Arteta slamming the winger for his “unacceptable” behaviour.

“It’s unacceptable. I told him it’s unacceptable,” Arteta said.

“We knew the level of intensity, aggression and how alive Leeds are in every action.”

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Reports have since emerged that Arsenal are contemplating Pepe’s future at the club.

But Arteta has moved quickly to shut down any plans to sell the former Lille star, insisting he wants to help Pepe fulfil his potential.

“I will give Nico my full support all the time,” Arteta said.

“He knows where he has to improve and we all know his qualities.

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“To say it’s a threat for him to finish his [Arsenal] career, it is not at all like that.”

The draw against Leeds at the weekend means Arsenal have won just one of their previous five games.

And more worrying for Arteta is the fact they’ve only scored one goal in the same period.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has struggled to rediscover his usual form while Alexandre Lacazette hasn’t looked close to his best.

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