Arsenal have confirmed the arrival of prolific Ivorian forward Nicolas Pepe from Ligue 1 outfit Lille, in a new club record deal worth £72 million.
Arsenal completed their fourth signing of the ongoing summer transfer window, as Ivory Coast attacker Nicolas Pepe has signed from Ligue 1 giants LOSC Lille, the Gunners confirmed on their official website.
Pepe had been on Arsenal’s radar all summer long, as manager Unai Emery scoured the market for a natural winger to add to his roster. And for a brief period it seemed as if the North London outfit would not be able to get their hands on the winger owing to their restricted transfer budget.
However, a breakthrough was made in their pursuit of Pepe last week as Arsenal reached an agreement with Lille over the £72 million transfer fee. The Gunners still had to beat Serie A heavyweights Napoli who also had struck an agreement with the French outfit.
And Arsenal have managed to do just that, as they announced the arrival of their new club-record signing earlier on Thursday, after he underwent a medical on Tuesday. Pepe has signed a five-year contract with the Gunners and will be donning the No.19 jersey at his new club.
Welcome to The Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe 🤩
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 1, 2019
Upon his unveiling, the 24-year-old expressed his delight at the completion of the transfer saying (h/t BBC): “Being here is very emotional. I have come a long way and struggled a lot and so signing for this great club is a big reward. It was important to make the right decision and I am convinced that Arsenal is the right choice.”
Pepe enjoyed a spectacular 2018-19 campaign during which he bagged 22 goals and set up 11 more in 38 Ligue 1 appearances, helping Lille to a second-place finish behind champions PSG. The 24-year-old becomes Arsenal’s fourth signing of the summer after the arrivals Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba (loaned back to St. Etienne) and Dani Ceballos (on loan from Real Madrid).
Arsenal boss Unai Emery said: “Nicolas is a highly rated and talented winger who was wanted by many of the top teams in Europe. Signing a top-class winger has been one of our key objectives in this transfer window and I’m delighted he’s joining. He will add pace, power and creativity, with the aim of bringing more goals to our team.”
The £72 million Arsenal shelled out for the Ivory Coast international makes him the fourth expensive player in Premier League history behind Manchester United duo Paul Pogba (£89 million), Romelu Lukaku (£75 million) and Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk (£75 million).