Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe could be the next player to leave the club for nothing, with reports suggesting that the Gunners are ready to let go of their £72 million record signing. The club is even said to be concerned that they may have to pay in order to facilitate his departure. If Pepe does leave Arsenal this summer, the Gunners will have lost £340 million worth of signings without making back a penny since Mikel Arteta took over as manager.
While Arsenal’s on-pitch performance has been impressive, with the team currently sitting at the top of the Premier League table, Arteta has not hesitated to let go of big names on big contracts. Since taking over in 2019, ten players have left the club for nothing, including Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Shkodran Mustafi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Sead Kolasinac, Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers, and David Luiz.
Ozil, who was signed for £42.5 million in 2013, spent seven-and-a-half years at the Emirates before his contract was terminated six months early in 2021. Despite his departure, the playmaker helped Arsenal win four FA Cups in his 254 appearances for the club. The German World Cup winner retired from professional football earlier this month.
Aubameyang, who was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy in December 2021, left for nothing just weeks later. Like Ozil, he also had his contract ripped up early and agreed to leave the club by mutual consent. He initially joined Barcelona before moving on to Chelsea last summer.
French striker Lacazette followed Aubameyang out of the door five months later. After joining the club in 2017 for £47 million, he was allowed to leave for nothing when his contract expired last summer.
Mkhitaryan joined the Gunners in a swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez head to Manchester United. He was shipped off to Roma on loan 18 months later and joined the Italians permanently the following campaign when his Arsenal contract was cancelled by mutual consent in September 2020.
German defender Mustafi had his contract cancelled by mutual consent in February 2021. He initially joined the club for £35 million in 2016, winning the FA Cup twice and making 151 appearances for the club.
Papastathopoulos had his Arsenal contract cancelled early by mutual consent and left the club in January 2021. He is now at Greek side Olympiacos, having made 69 appearances for the Gunners in two-and-a-half years at the club.
Left-back Kolasinac had his contract ripped up and left by mutual consent in January 2022, allowing him to join French club Marseille. The 29-year-old played 118 times for the Gunners after joining from German side Schalke in June 2017.
Bellerin spent ten years at the Emirates before leaving in September 2022. He had his contract terminated by mutual consent and joined Barcelona after spending the season before on loan at Real Betis. He is currently on loan at Sporting from Barca.
Versatile defender Chambers joined Arsenal from Southampton in 2014. He spent seven-and-a-half years at the club before completing a free transfer to Aston Villa in January 2022.
Brazilian defender Luiz spent two seasons at Arsenal from 2019-2021 after leaving Chelsea for a second time. He left the Emirates for nothing when his contract expired at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, winning an FA Cup in his 73 appearances for the club.
In conclusion, Arsenal’s readiness to let go of Pepe for nothing is in line with Arteta’s approach to managing the club. While the Gunners’ on-pitch performance has been impressive, their financial losses due to players leaving for nothing cannot be ignored. It remains to be seen whether Pepe will indeed leave Arsenal this summer and add to the club’s financial woes.