Arsenal are currently ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in a race to rope in Ligue 1’s top scorer, Nicolas Pepe.
If the reports by The Sun are legit, Arsenal would be facing stiff competition from Chelsea and Tottenham to sign the 23 year old winger. The French-Ivorian was in the sights of the scouting team in Islington from way back in August, giving the Gunners a head-start in the race to sign Pepe.
The Lille winger has 12 goals and 6 assists to his name this season and is ahead of Kylian Mbappe as the top scorer in Ligue 1 on the basis of assists.
Unai Emery is keen to sign an aggressive forward to replace Danny Welbeck, who is out for rest of the season due to an ankle injury. The presence of a strong striker in Emirates would relieve the pressure on Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of playing in less important games.
Chelsea are also scouring the market for a winger to add to their squad. The need would become even more imperative, should the Blues indeed end up offloading Callum Hudson-Odoi, with Bayern Munich said to be interested in a January deal for the English youngster.
Currently, Lille are open to negotiations for the sale of their star striker, shifting from their initial stance of being against any sale in January. It is expected that LOSC wouldn’t let go of the winger for a dime below £50 million and Arsenal are ready to dole out such cash considering the limited options in the winter transfer window.
Gunners’ other option would be to rope in Cristian Pavon from Boca Juniors. The 23 year old comes with a similar price tag of £40 million.
Arsenal must act quick if they would want to secure the services of the Ivorian footballer as Manchester City have also expressed interest in the winger. Pep Guardiola had sent scouts to watch players in Ligue 1 and the 23 year old caught the eye in a match against Reims in the first week of December.
Guardiola plans to buy Pepe this January and loan him out back to LOSC for the remainder of the season, making both the sides happy in the process. Barcelona could spring up a large surprise by breaking open their wallet to sign Pepe as a replacement for Luis Suarez.
The winger has found himself on the 7 member list of the Catalans to fill the boots of the Uruguayan, while he undergoes stem cell therapy.
Still, Arsenal and Chelsea are the prime contenders according to the report, with others lurking in the shadows. It just might be down to the results they manage to produce in the lead-up to the January transfer window. But, Pepe remains a wanted quantity.