Stop the press, forget Zaha, Arsenal are apparently going for broke and are said to be close to agreeing a whopping transfer fee of £72m for Nicolas Pepe.
Pepe was thought to be a gunners target for at least two seasons but doubts about the fee involved made the interest appear luke warm, until now. Arsenal are said to be in discussions with the French club and the wingers representatives. It’s thought that Pepe has shown a genuine interest at the prospect of a move to the Emirates.
So was Zaha an expensive decoy to attract Pepe ? Probably and if so, how clever was that. Let’s not give dithering Arsenal too much credit, it could be just a happy accident but if this transfer takes place, it will be seen as a massive statement of intent and makes the reports of a miserly transfer kitty of £45m look a bit daft.
Arsenal are said to have offered a five year contract which has met Lille’s demands in full. It’s a smash and grab deal, tantamount to theft, with Napoli agreeing terms with Pepe’s club but unable to satisfy the stars demands and his agents prefered him to choose Arsenal instead.
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
Reliable transfer sources like David Ornstein and Fabrizio Romano has confirmed the bid made by the Gunners for Pepe and have mentioned that Arsenal are very much confident to complete the deal for the highly rated winger.
Unlike the Kieran Tierney transfer saga, Arsenal’s payments have been accepted by Lille and it’s thought that there will be a considerable upfront payment, followed by structured payments over the next three or four seasons.
Pepe is considered one of the world’s finest talents and last term scored 23 goals and grabbed 12 assists in 41 appearances. Keep a sense of perspective though because Lille are still open to approaches, old and new and no one is out of the reckoning at this time.
It may be a few more days before the real contenders are left to slog it out for a signature and Pepe will have the final say on the matter.
The arrival of Pepe would certainly bolster up Emery’s attacking options and it may cast doubt on the arrival of Everton Soares, who was thought to be close to joining Arsenal.
Nicolas Pépé’s 2018-19 Ligue 1 season by numbers:
118 total shots
108 fouls won
102 take-ons completed
70 chances created
A move to the Premier League could be close. ? pic.twitter.com/BkXoTehDCz
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 27, 2019
As exciting as this all is, there is still no news on a defensive target or transfer, which is still a priority for most fans. Having said that, what a phenomenal transfer and boost this would be for the North London club.