Nicolas Pépé was Arsenal’s biggest signing of the summer transfer window as the winger arrived at the Emirates from Lille.
Unai Emery called him off the bench in the first two matches before including the Ivory Coast international in the next two fixtures. He played 90 minutes for the Gunners against Tottenham Hotspur and there were no concerns over his fitness.
However, Ivory Coast football association confirmed the 24-year-old arrived at the national camp with an injury from his club, but did not provide any additional details.
Les Éléphants manager Ibrahim Kamara has only 16 players at his disposal for the friendly tie against Tunisia that will take place in France, as Pépé, Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha and Galatasaray midfielder (on loan from Fulham) Jean Michaël Seri have missed September’s international fixtures.
According to SportMania.ci, Pépé, Zaha and Seri’s refusal not to play for the national team ‘looks very much like a boycott or even a betrayal’.
The report has criticised Emery’s attacker and the others and they question if the Ivory Coast FA and Kamara should take disciplinary action. It’s stated their reasons for withdrawal ‘don’t add up’.
They also suggest Arsenal’s record signing, the Palace winger and Seri should be either handed a financial penalty or dropped for upcoming fixtures.
Meanwhile, Zaha’s camp has responded to the boycott claims as they suggest the former Manchester United man is “always motivated for his country.”