Arsenal have reportedly agreed a whirlwind £72 million deal with LOSC Lille to sign the heavily courted prolific forward Nicolas Pepe.
According to BBC, in what is a joyous update for Arsenal fans, the North Londoners have reportedly agreed a £72 million deal for Nicolas Pepe. The Ligue 1 forward has been courting interest from several European giants, with Bayern Munich, Napoli and Liverpool among the key contenders.
But, it seems the Gunners have stolen a march. Arsenal were reportedly in for the likes of Everton Soares and Wilfried Zaha. But, with Zaha not coming cheap and Everton likely a smokescreen, the Gunners have beaten Napoli to the chase, with the Serie A giants primed to land Pepe earlier.
Arsenal have reached an agreement with Lille to sign Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe for ~€80m, paid by instalments to fit #AFC budget. 5yr deal, agent agreement still needed but set to be closed in next 24/48hrs. Napoli also have agreement with #LOSC but agent rejected proposal
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) July 27, 2019
The deal represents a fair deal of outlay at face value, but that is not the case. Arsenal will pay the reported fee in a series of instalments. The deal is reportedly done between them and Lille, with representatives of Pepe and the club left to churn out the personal terms before finalising the move.
BBC report that the transfer is expected to be completed within the next 48 hours. Napoli were primed to land Pepe and had met Lille’s asking price. But, their hesitation to meet the demand of agent commission and player signing-on fee saw Arsenal sneak in.
Nicolas Pepe will prove to be a valuable addition to Arsenal, if indeed it does happen. The Ligue 1 forward produced scintillating numbers for a wide forward, with 22 goals and 11 assists in the league alone as Lille finished as runners-up to Paris Saint-Germain in the league and qualified for the Champions League.
Predominantly a right winger, Pepe also has the ability to be resourceful as a centre-forward and could be used in a two-striker setup like Wilfried Zaha has been used at Crystal Palace.
David Ornstein on BBC 5 live :
– Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal is close but not done yet. Arsenal will have to agree terms with his reps.
-Auba & Laca won’t be sold to finance the Pepe deal.
– Arsenal still interested in Tierney pic.twitter.com/PQGx08EzBT
— Osman (@OsmanZtheGooner) July 27, 2019
Arsenal though, have no natural wide forwards and had been looking at adding one or more this transfer window. The transfer committee seems to have worked it’s magic, especially with the reported restricted budget of £45 million at hand. Securing the future of a talent like William Saliba; adding a creative midfielder like Dani Ceballos and signing Nicolas Pepe in one single window, with money to spare is a remarkable feat.
There are still reports of Arsenal trying to get a deal done for Kieran Tierney and if that happens, the fans should sing praises of the transfer committee and Raul Sanllehi.