Lille president Gerard Lopez has confirmed that Nicolas Pepe is going to join Arsenal this summer, in what will be an €80 million deal.
In an interview with RMC Sport, Lille president Gerard Lopez has confirmed the inevitable. The Ligue 1 club’s chief has iterated that Arsenal are set to sign Nicolas Pepe in an €80 million, with the transfer set to be formally announced within “the next 24 hours”.
Nicolas Pepe has made quite an impression during his two-year stay at Lille. Signed from Angers in the summer of 2017, the Ivorian had a solid return of 14 goals and 5 assists in 38 appearances across all competitions in his maiden campaign with Les Dogues. But, what transpired in the next season has sent his stock skyrocketing.
In 38 Ligue 1 outings, Pepe directly contributed to 33 goals – 22 goals and 11 assists. And his all round displays have not gone unnoticed, with a number of clubs chasing him this summer. But, it is Arsenal who have reportedly won the race to sign the 24-year-old.
For a long time, Pepe’s international teammate, Wilfried Zaha, had been heavily linked with the Gunners. But, the pursuit of the former Manchester United winger did not bear any fruit, which meant Arsenal had to turn their attention elsewhere, with Pepe emerging as their next priority.
Even in the chase for the Ivory Coast international, Arsenal had the likes of Manchester United and Napoli to contend with. But, the North Londoners are reportedly poised to sign Pepe in an €80 million deal.
The claims from these reports have now been corroborated by Lille president Gerard Lopez, in an interview with RMC Sport, who has not just said that Pepe is set to join Arsenal, but also claimed that the move should be completed “within the next 24 hours”.
“He is the one who made the decision, I think it should be (confirmed) in the next 24 hours. It is €80 million fixed. If we pushed this deal out a little bit longer, we could have had five or six offers of the same nature. In talking with Nicolas and his agents, the discussion centred on a few clubs so we preferred to focus on the projects that interested the player.”
The deal is exactly what Arsenal have seemingly needed to complete their attacking unit, having sorely lacked a natural winger in their squad for quite some time. At 24, Pepe will give Arsenal his best years while also providing an option to play upfront, if needed.
It now looks like the announcement to sign Nicolas Pepe is mere hours away, judging by the comments made by Lille president Gerard Lopez. With Arsenal set to break their club record by landing him in an €80 million, it will be interesting to see if the huge outlay produces acceptable dividends in the coming season(s).