24-year-old Nicolas Pepe garnered loads of interest after an amazing season with Eden Hazard's former club Lille in the French Ligue 1. At the end of the 2017-18 season, Pepe had scored 13 goals for his team, successfully partaking in keeping the team just above the relegation zone.
Last season, however, the Ivorian contributed to 33 goals, catapulting LOSC Lille to a shocking 2nd place position, right behind Paris Saint-Germain. Those contributions include 22 goals, making Pepe the first player to score more than 20 goals for Lille after Eden Hazard in 2012.
It isn't so shocking that clubs have lined up for the 24-year-old's signature in recent weeks. However, Arsenal have won the race to bring Pepe into the Premier League for a mouth-watering €80 million, a North London record fee, and an announcement could be made regarding his arrival any day now.
While the pacey winger is versatile and capable of playing almost anywhere in the final third, Lille has used him solely in a right-wing-forward position. This allows Pepe to play freely as an inside forward, cutting in, dribbling past defenders, and making the assist or taking a shot at goal with his powerful left foot.
The Ivorian may have scored 22 goals, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have an eye for a pass. Rather unselfishly, he assisted 11 goals last season, making nearly 2 key passes per game.
His record-fee move to Arsenal translates to one thing: He's undoubtedly going to be in the starting XI. So let's take a look at three ways Unai Emery can set up his team while ensuring Pepe is used as efficiently and effectively as possible.
#3 4-3-3 Formation
This formation promises fluidity while keeping several players in their most potent positions. Alexandre Lacazette would feature as the centre-forward, flanked by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the left-wing and Pepe on the right.
This places Pepe in his most primal position as a wing-forward, with plenty of space to attack down the right flank and cut in at opportune moments. While this is set to bring in a flood of goals and other important contributions to the attack, the same cannot be said for Arsenal's left-wing.
Aubameyang, while capable of playing on the flank, has had his plethora of chances as a centre-forward instead. His connection with Lacazette when they both sit in that centre position has brought a lot of goals and assists.
Emery would need to decide if playing Pepe in his natural wing-forward position is more important than continuing with Arsenal's best striking duo this decade.