What's the story?
Arsenal have had their €80 million bid for Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe accepted by French side Lille, which the English side have agreed to pay in a series of installments that suit their restricted budget for this summer.
After being linked with various big names across Europe including - Napoli, Liverpool and Inter Milan, it seems the winger will ply his trade in English top-flight after all.
In case you didn't know...
Pepe had a breakout season in Ligue 1 with Lille, as he scored 22 goals in 38 appearances and also had 11 assists to his name.
Pepe had a disappointing campaign with Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations and failed to replicate his club form for country, as he failed to score even a single goal in the tournament.
The heart of the matter...
Arsenal had a sluggish transfer activity in the initial days of the transfer window, but Unai Emery's side seems to have picked up the pace in finalizing deals for the players, having completed the signings of Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba on permanent basis, while also bringing in Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan.
Emery had teased fans with a message in a press conference earlier this month about ‘three or four’ big signings that the club wanted to complete in the ongoing transfer window, now with the imminent announcement of Pepe as well, we can say the Spaniard has lived upto his words.
David Ornstein reported that though Lille had accepted a bid from Serie A side Napoli as well, who matched The Gunners' bid, the player's camp rejected their advances in favor of a move to the Premier League.
Arsenal are in dire need of some reinforcements in the final third, especially on the right-flank. Having chased Pepe's compatriot Wilfred Zaha for much of the window, now signing him seems like a smart move, as he satisfies Arsenal's need for a wide player with pace and high technical ability.
An agreement between Arsenal and Pepe's representatives still needs to be finalized. But it is expected that the transfer move will be completed in the next 24 to 48 hours.Published 27 Jul 2019, 18:12 IST