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3 Reasons why signing Nicolas Pepe is more important than signing a centre-back for Arsenal

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01 Aug 2019, 07:20 IST

Nicolas Pepe is now the most expensive African player ever
Nicolas Pepe is now the most expensive African player ever

A few weeks ago, Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal was just an audacious rumour and distant dream for Arsenal fans. But where there’s a will there’s a way. The Arsenal higher-ups have reportedly managed to secure a sensational deal to sign the 24-year-old winger for £72 million. The deal will see Arsenal pay a rumoured £20 million upfront, with the rest being structured across four years. This will be the club’s biggest ever signing, smashing their club-record fee of £57 million paid for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2017.

This signing is monumental for Arsenal, especially in a time where many fans were becoming disheartened with the clu

b’s transfer activity. Having only secured Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan and William Saliba arriving next season, fans wanted more.

Even with this amazing signing, there are still detractors pointing to the fact the Gunners should be looking to spend such money on a centre-back. However, the signing of Nicolas Pepe is far more important than a centre-back for Arsenal right now. Let me explain why.

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#3 Goalscoring winger

Nicolas Pepe has scored 47 club goals in 156 games
Nicolas Pepe has scored 47 club goals in 156 games

Arsenal signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in Arsène Wenger’s final season, with the club looking to provide the fans with a strike force they’ve been crying out for for years. That was a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t enough. The Gunners have needed a goalscoring winger ever since Robert Pires left the club. If you look at all the great title-winning teams, they’ve had prolific strikers complemented by goalscoring wingers.

Many say the best form of defence is attack, while Emery is still attempting to find a perfectly balanced defence. Last season, Nicolas Pepe scored 22 goals whilst providing 11 assists, averaging a goal or assist every 101 minutes. In contrast, Arsenal’s highest-scoring winger last season, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, could only produce six goals and four assists. Pepe’s signing will significantly reduce the pressure on Aubameyang and Lacazette to always bail out their underperforming teammates. 

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