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Arsenal to reexamine whether they overpaid for Nicolas Pepe last summer

Arsenal will re-examine whether they overpaid for record signing Nicolas Pepe last summer, according to James Olley of ESPN

The Gunners struck a deal worth £72 million with Lille to bring the Ivorian to the Emirates. The club have denied that a formal investigation is taking place but it is understood that the North London club will look into the deal as part of the recruitment overhaul currently taking place in North London which has seen senior members of the Gunners’ scouting staff like Francis Cagigao, Brain McDermott and Brian Clark lose their job. 

Nicolas Pepe has had a reasonably successful debut season at Arsenal, scoring eight goals and providing ten assists in 42 games across all competitions. The Ivorian has been inconsistent but he was always expected to take time to adapt to the rigours of English football. 

Arsenal do not regret signing the 25 year old in the slightest but there were many in the game who were taken aback by the size of the fee the Gunners paid for the player’s signature, especially considering their reputation for being frugal spenders. 

The North London club paid £20 million up front but will have to pay the remaining £52 million in installments over the next five years, the first of which is due this summer. The size of that commitment has led to a reexamination of the scouting reports and negotiating process that led to the deal being given the green light. 

The Ivory Coast international was being courted by a number of top sides across Europe after enjoying a hugely successful season for Lille but the individuals who represented these clubs and held talks with Lille regarding a transfer for the 25 year old were shocked with the amount of money Arsenal eventually parted with to sign the player. 

Edu Gaspar, Arsenal’s technical director, joined the club just three weeks before Pepe signed for the Gunners. He was present when the player signed his Arsenal contract but did not do too much of the heavy lifting to bring Pepe to the club. 

Former Gunners boss Unai Emery is believed to have preferred Wilfried Zaha over the former Lille attacker but Crystal Palace wanted a similar amount for their talisman and expected most of the fee to be paid up front. Arsenal eventually decided to sign Pepe over Zaha. 

The technical director is overhauling the club’s recruitment at all levels. Ty Gooden, Arsenal’s head scout in France has also lost his job. Edu believes that a global network of scouts is not as important as a data driven approach and establishing relationships with key agents. 

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