Former Premier League striker Noel Whelan has urged Everton to make the ‘safest’ move for Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe. 

This comes after the Toffees were one of a host of clubs linked with the 26-year-old 28-cap Ivory Coast star earlier this week. 

Everton, Newcastle United and Crystal Palace are all reportedly keen on Pepe according to French outlet Jeunes Footeux

Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan urged the potential suitors to proceed with caution so as not to waste any unnecessary transfer funds. 

I think if you’re going to take a chance on Nicolas Pepe, we know there’s a player there. We know that there’s a skilful winger in him. A loan move is the safest move you can make. You’ve got to make sure that you get a player in, you see how he settles and you see his performances. Only then can you judge him on the fact that you want to spend £25million. Right now, Arsenal are offloading him or wanting to offload him for a reason. Because he’s not done it. That is the reason why players bought for big money are then very shortly after loaned out or sold. Because they’ve just not done it for the club that spent the cash. For Newcastle and the likes of Everton, to give him the opportunity, to give them that second bite of the cherry in the Premier League, the loan move is the safest move to go down. You’re not wasting any money. All you’re paying is a percentage of the wages. Then, at the end of the season, you can assess the situation.

So far this season Pepe has scored once and provided three assists across all competitions for the North London club. 

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Predominantly a right-winger, the Ivorian would likely be competing with Andros Townsend for a place in Rafa Benitez’s side. 

However, this campaign has already highlighted a lack of depth in the Goodison Park squad and the Spanish manager will no doubt be looking at ways of strengthening in January. 

Valued at £31.5million (Transfermarkt) and with an impressive record in the French top-flight, Pepe on loan would be a shrewd acquisition.