Arsenal have reached an agreement with Lille to secure the signature of Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe, a report from BBC Sport‘s David Ornstein has revealed.
The Gunners have been on the hunt for a wide player since the beginning of the summer transfer window and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha appeared the prime target to fulfil the role.
However, things have moved in a different direction in the past few days and BBC Sport reports that the club have now agreed on a club-record deal worth £72m (€80m) to bring Pepe to the Emirates Stadium.
Such a move seems improbable with a limited budget for the summer, but Ornstein has given an explanation for the same by indicating that the sum would be settled through a series of instalments.
The Gunners have lacked the presence of a regular contributor from the wide positions over the past year with the likes of Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan struggling with their end product.
As such, Pepe should provide a genuine upgrade for the department and most especially on the right wing from where he contributed 23 goals and 12 assists across all competitions for Lille last term.
Meanwhile, the attacker has previously started upfront in a 4-4-2 formation under the guidance of former boss Marcelo Bielsa, but may not be required with the presence of Aubameyang and Lacazette in the ranks.
The arrival of Pepe is expected to end the club’s recent pursuit of compatriot Zaha for whom they had failed with a transfer offer worth £40m at the beginning of the month.
The focus should now shift towards strengthening the backline and Sky Sports News claims that the club are confident of landing the services of Celtic’s Kieran Tierney with a third transfer bid.
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