Big things were expected of attacker Nicolas Pepe when he signed for Arsenal from Lille for a club-record fee of £72m in 2019 - the Ivorian had netted an astonishing 22 goals alongside 11 assists in what was a stellar 2018-19 campaign.
The numbers he produced that season are ultimately what earned him his move to the Gunners, but he has failed to have the same kind of impact in North London. In over 100 games for the club, he has scored 27 times and grabbed 21 assists, with his best form coming in the 2020-21 season (16 goals in all competitions).
But in his other two seasons for Arsenal, Pepe failed to hit a double-digits goals tally in all competitions, with only eight in 19/20, and a paltry three last season. A big part of Mikel Arteta's time at Arsenal has been clearing out deadwood players, and Pepe falls under that bracket.
A hefty transfer fee and large wages, combined with inconsistent form has seen him fall out of favour and he rarely started under Arteta, and so a loan move this summer was needed for the Ivorian's career. Nice have signed Pepe on a season-long loan, and perhaps being back in the French league where he performed so well before, is what Pepe needs.
Arteta's possession-based set-up meant that Arsenal did not always play to Pepe's strengths, but in France, where Pepe has previously found success playing in a counter-attacking team, perhaps he can regain his form and get his career back on track.