What's the story?
Arsenal manager Unai Emery has addressed Nicolas Pepe's impending move to the Emirates, as he insists the club are continuing to work to sign players who will improve the squad.
In case you didn't know...
Emery has been heavily reported to be working with a meager £45 million summer transfer budget after failing to inspire the Gunners to a Champions League return. The side finished at fifth place in the Premier League and lost the Europa League final to London rivals, Chelsea.
A meeting with Arsenal owners in the United States last week has, however, appeared to work in the manager's favor as the funds look to have increased significantly for the remaining days of the transfer window.
The North London outfit has so far signed Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan and beat Tottenham Hotspur to the signing of Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba. They also procured the services of Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli.
The club was heavily linked with a move for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha in recent weeks, but their opening bid of £40 million for the Ivory Coast international was rejected.
Arsenal have now shifted their attention to Lille star, Pepe, who is available for a fee of around £72 million. The club are hopeful of completing the deal in the coming days as they look to strengthen their squad before the start of the new season.
The heart of the matter
Speaking of Arsenal's transfer plans after their defeat to Lyon at the Emirates, Emery said (via The Telegraph), "We are working, the club, and also thinking about how we can improve. They have different players on the table with the possibility that we can achieve their signature."
"Pepe is a very good player, and also we are thinking only [about] players who really, really improve the squad and also give us some different conditions to improve. We are working in the last few weeks before the season starts with the first match against Newcastle to get the best team with the best players in our squad."
"We are deciding how we can improve. From the beginning we were thinking to sign players but only if we can really improve in this position. One center-back, one full-back, and one winger. We are going to do that and are thinking the same [now]."
He added, "Really I want a team better than last year with players who can add to us this season. We have a very good team. [We only want] players who can improve the squad."
Serie A giants Napoli also hold a strong interest in Pepe, but reports suggest the 24-year-old is keen on a move to the Premier League. Arsenal are set to finalise a deal with the player's representatives before they confirm the deal in a few days.Published 29 Jul 2019, 10:59 IST