Arsenal are in pole position to beat their rivals to the signing of this in-demand star, the Gunners have made the best offer to the attacker’s representatives.
According to Sky Italia, Arsenal are leading the intense race to sign in-demand Lille star Nicolas Pepe, the attacker is subject to bids from four of Europe’s biggest clubs, but the star’s agent are pushing the ace to move to the Gunners as the north London outfit have made the best offer so far to the Ivorian’s representatives.
It’s understood that the Gunners offered more than Napoli’s €3.5m agent fee and €500,000 bonus, the report states that Pepe’s team are holding out for €5m for their services.
As per the Metro via French publication L’Equipe (subscription required), Liverpool, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Napoli have all agreed €80m (£72m) deals with Lille for Pepe, the decision is solely on the player on where he’d like to take his talents ahead of next season.
Pepe’s phenomenal performances for Lille saw the team defy the odds and finish second in Ligue 1 last season, during the last campaign, the 24-year-old scored 22 league goals and provided 11 assists to his teammates.
Some fans and pundits will be wondering how Arsenal can afford to pull of a sensational swoop for the attacker, as per The Sun, Unai Emery only has £45m to spend this summer – although this doesn’t include funds raised through player sales.
Key areas that Emery needs to strengthen on this summer are attack, and in particular – in the wide areas, Arsenal only have two natural attacking wide players at their disposal heading into next season; academy graduates Alex Iwobi and Reiss Nelson.
Pepe showed his talents as a versatile attacker for Lille last season, the former Angers star featured as a central striker and as a winger, the ace’s ability to play up front will also be attractive to Emery as he eyes backup options to frightening strike duo Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gunners are attempting to return to their former glory under Unai Emery in the coming years and Pepe’s signature would certainly catapult them into serious contention for Champions League qualification next season.
Pepe demonstrated that he also has the priceless ability to lift the performances of the players around him with his impressive displays last season, Lille’s Rafael Leao and Jonathan Bamba flourished alongside the Ivorian last season.
Emery will be hoping that Pepe can have that same effect on some of Arsenal’s stars if he moves to the Emirates Stadium.