The truth behind Arsenal £72m deal to sign Nicolas Pepe


There was a lot of buzz around Arsenal when they managed to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille in 2018. The Ivorian was considered to be the real deal after his impressive performances in Ligu1. In his last season with the French side, he scored 23 goals in all competitions.

He is currently Arsenal’s record signings at £72 million. However, things haven’t gone as per plan for the forward. He impressed in his early Arsenal days and showed a lot of promise. But the club was surrounded by managerial issues.

Unai Emery was in his second season in charge but the Gunners weren’t performing very well. He was sacked mid-season and replaced by Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard is yet to fully give a chance to Pepe to showcase his potential.

Arteta is very popular for improving players and Pepe will also be hopeful that he can improve under him. He is yet to start a Premier League game for Gunners this season and he has made seven appearances.

How did Arsenal manage to sign him despite offering less money?

How did Arsenal manage to sign him despite offering less money?

Many have questioned that given how Pepe has performed, Arsenal has overpaid for him. However, in the lastest revelation Lille owner Gerard Lopez has revealed that Arsenal saved £10m by signing him for £72 million.

Napoli was willing to offer £85 million excluding performance bonuses. Lopez believes that it was a masterstroke from the Gunners to sign Pepe as the Ivorian’s representatives also insisted him to accept the offer from the Premier League giants.

Many of the Arsenal officials like Edu and former head of football Raul Sanllehi met with the club owner Stan Kroenke in LA to discuss Pepe. Lille was also very cooperative and they agreed to get the full payment of Pepe’s transfer fees in yearly installments.

Despite a big offer from Napoli, Pepe wanted to join Arsenal. The Italians have previously also missed out on Bernd Leno and Lucas Torreira, as both of them joined the Gunners over them. It must also be noted that Unai Emery actually wanted Wilfried Zaha instead of Pepe in the first place.

What’s next for Pepe?

What's next for Pepe at Arsenal.

Arsenal summer signing Gabriel Magalhaes revealed that Nicolas Pepe convinced him to join the club this season. While Pepe has helped the Gunners secure the defender, he himself is yet to cement a permanent place in Arsenal’s starting line up.

Mikel Arteta’s new high-intensity pressing is not for everyone. Mesut Ozil’s lack of work rate has resulted in him being left out of the Premier League and Europa League squad of the club. The Spaniard has shown that he will be ruthless regardless of a players’ superstar status.

Big things were expected from Pepe given he is the club’s record signings. It hasn’t been the best of the starts but it could have been a lot worse as well. The Ivorian is still only 25 years old and he has plenty of time to improve himself and turn things around.

Pepe has many other qualities as well such as his dribbling and pace. Arsenal legend Sol Campbell believes that if the former Lille forward works hard on his finishing and final third passes he can work his way into Mikel Arteta’s line up.

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