Arsenal Football Club have confirmed the signing of LOSC Lille winger Nicolas Pepe for a club record fee of around £72m.
Pepe had been on the radar of of Liverpool, Napoli and allegedly Manchester United, with the Italian side also agreeing a £72 million fee with the Ligue 1 side. Yet after representatives rejected Napoli’s terms, the winger is now London bound. But why is Pepe so highly rated? Here’s all you need to know about the 24 year old:
Pepe made a name for himself at French 3rd division side US Orleans (on loan from Angers), scoring an impressive 7 goals in 29 games to help the side achieve promotion from the 3rd tier.
The Ivorian’s return to Angers the following season produced 3 goals in 33 games (2016/170, which was enough for Lille to be interested in him, acquiring him for just €10 million. Since joining Les Dogues, Pepe has gone from strength to strength with 50 goal contributions across his last two seasons, just what Arsenal need…
Nicolas Pepe’s 2018/19 Ligue 1 stats:
The stats above speak for themselves, the former Angers forward is dynamic, exciting on the eye but most importantly, finds the back of the net time and time again.
At 6ft, Pepe possesses a unique skillset with both the strength to hold off defenders and the blistering pace to beat his man. He described former coach Marcelo Bielsa as ‘special’ and the Argentine manager helped develop the Ivorian into an unstoppable attacker.
He is able to play on either flank or as a striker, the versatility that Arsenal are crying out for. But the position he prefers is on the right, allowing him to cut inside on his left and unleashing the devastating shot he has.