Speculation surrounding LOSC Lille’s Nicolas Pepe is increasing by the day after a reported £72 million bid from Arsenal for the Ivory Coast International.
Arsenal are ready to step up their chase for a bonafide forward in the current transfer window. They have been on the trails of many stars across England and Europe, but are yet to make headway. The Sun are now reporting of a massive £72 million offer from Arsenal for Lille’s Nicolas Pepe, as the Ivory Coast International looks set to leave the French side in this window.
Wilfried Zaha remains Arsenal’s primary target to fill a forward place in the side. But, negotiations with Crystal Palace have not gone well as their recent £40 million offer was rejected as the Premier League club are looking for more than double that amount. Therefore Arsenal switched their attention to the likes of Lucas Vazquez of Real Madrid as well as were offered Mariano Diaz for a lower price tag recently.
Pepe’s agent Samir Khiat also hinted at PSG’s interest in the player, but did say the player was open to joining other clubs other than the French Champions. He said, “The aim is for him to sign in the right place. PSG is a possibility.
“Today, all parties need to reach an agreement. There are exchanges and discussions. For him the most important thing is to be wanted and to go to a good club in which he will play and continue to progress.”
Pepe is believed to have made up his mind to leave Lille this summer after an explosive season to help the French side finish second in Ligue 1. Pepe featured in 38 league games last season scoring 22 goals and providing 11 assists in what was a fantastic season under his belt.
Liverpool were among the admirers of the forward and were willing to part with €80 million to make the forward a significant signing this summer, while there was interest from Manchester United as well. However, the interest in the winger had gone cold before Arsenal’s reported offer got him back in the mix.
Arsenal had been chasing Pepe as the season ended, but decided to call off their interest after Lille placed a hefty price tag. Arsenal endured a torrid end of the season as they finished outside of Champions League places in the Premier League as well as losing the Europa League final to Chelsea. Hence they are running around the market with a limited £45 million budget.
If the reports of their £72 million bid are accurate, then Arsenal have the financial muscle to pull this transfer. However, in light of their interest in Zaha, they could undoubtedly persuade Crystal Palace to part with Zaha. As much as Arsenal fans would love the fact that their club have made such a massive bid, it could all still be speculation.
Arsenal could certainly make do with the quality of Pepe. But since they do not have the kind of money to match Lille’s valuation, the reports of a bid could all be flimsy. One cannot see this transfer happening, but if Arsenal does have the money they might go in for Zaha rather than Pepe.