Struggling £72m signing set to stick with Arsenal despite recent form

Arsenal are reportedly ‘unlikely’ to loan out Nicolas Pepe in the January transfer market.

The Ivorian forward is battling to get back in his head coach’s favour after a series of inconsistent displays and a red card versus Leeds for a clash of heads with Ezgjan Alioski.

Mikel Arteta is said to have taken Nicolas to task in the dressing room after Sunday’s 0-0 draw, as his dismissal left the north Londoners playing the majority of the second-half with ten men.

The Spaniard also called the forward out publicly for his ‘unacceptable’ conduct, with the star apologising for his sending off on Monday.

“I let my team down at a crucial time of the game and there are no excuses for my behaviour,” Pepe said.

“I am deeply sorry and would like to apologise to the fans, my team-mates, my coach and everyone else at the club.”

According to The Times, the incident has added to Mikel’s doubts about Arsenal’s club-record signing, and whether the former Lille ace has what it takes to succeed at the Premier League side.

Nicolas has started only two league matches this campaign, scoring once, and patience is wearing thin over whether the attacker signed from Lille in August last year will live up to his huge transfer sum.

The Times claim the Gunners won’t look to loan out Pepe in January in an attempt to regain his confidence and address his disciplinary issues.

Nicolas is set to stay put, largely because of Arsenal’s busy schedule, both domestically and in the Europa League.

Instead, they must hope he recaptures the brilliant form that led to him scoring 22 goals and grabbing 11 assists in his final season in France.

Premier League rivals captain reveals Arsenal interest in 2014

Newcastle United’s Jamaal Lascelles has told the Getting Messi podcast that he could have signed for Arsenal or Everton from Nottingham Forest as a teenager – instead swapping the EFL Championship club for the Magpies at the age of just 20.

Now 27, Jamaal is Newcastle captain and has clocked up 175 appearances for them – continuing to go under the radar as perhaps one of the country’s more consistent centre-backs. Lascelles is yet to win a full England cap.

However, it could have been very different. He had broken into the Forest side as a teenager and by the time the Magpies paid £4.5 million in 2014, he had already played 65 times for Forest but The Toon were not the first club keen.

Jamaal spilt the beans over potential moves to the PL, claiming that he could have moved to London with the Gunners or Merseyside with the Toffees.

In the end, Newcastle purchased him – but his professional career could have taken a very different path.

“The Arsenal interest, it was there. I think it was definitely there. I cannot remember who my agent was at the time,” the Englishman said.

“I was 18 and concentrating on my job. My dad didn’t want it to effect me or my ego. That was kind of kept away from me.

“The Everton thing, I actually went to the training ground and had a look around and stuff.

“They were interested. I am not sure why it didn’t happen but they were interested as well. As a kid, there has always been paper talk and speculation.”

Manager keen to sign Real Madrid misfit for Arsenal

Mikel Arteta has earmarked Real Madrid playmaker Isco as a key January transfer target for Arsenal, according to the latest reports in Spain.

Arsenal were active during the summer transfer window. They purchased long-term midfield target Thomas Partey on deadline day after activating his £44.5m release clause.

Earlier in the window, they also signed Gabriel Magalhaes, Pablo Mari, Willian and Cedric Soares. The club have had an indifferent start to the campaign, as they sit 12th after nine games.

They have picked up victories against Manchester United, West Ham United, Sheffield United and Fulham but they have also fallen to defeats to Manchester City, Aston Villa, Liverpool and Leicester City.

Last time out the club were held to a 0-0 draw to Leeds United, as forward Nicolas Pepe was sent off early into the second half.

The manager already has his eyes on the January market. Spanish outlet Defensa Central have reported that the Spaniard has instructed his board to target Real Madrid star.

The reports adds that the Gunners would prefer an initial loan deal with an option to buy in the summer.

It also states that a stumbling block to the deal happening could be that Los Blancos prefers a permanent deal instead of a loan.

Isco joined Real Madrid back in 2013 from Malaga for around €30 million. He has made over 200 appearances for the Spanish side in that time.

But his playing time has decreased of late. The playmaker has only made three starts this season, so a move away is looking ever more likely.