Arsenal are set to complete the exciting signing of Nicolas Pepe this week, with a medical booked in on Tuesday.
We brought you news last week that Arsenal were in talks with Lille for Pepe and over the weekend the club accelerated negotiations and now a deal appears to be done.
All the terms are finalised. Nicolas Pepe will have his #Arsenal medical tomorrow, with the club preparing to announce their new record signing this week [L'Equipe]. #AFC #transfers pic.twitter.com/vjSXIEkw7P
— Fresh Arsenal (@Fresh_Arsenal) July 29, 2019
Providing the medical is passed then the deal will be done and fans should expect an announcement shortly. According to L’Equipe, via GFFN, Pepe’s medical is booked for tomorrow afternoon.
Interestingly the Daily Mail report tonight that the Gunners will only pay £20million upfront to sign Pepe, with the remaining £52million to be paid over the duration of Pepe’s five year contract.
N Pepe just turning 24 and Zaha about to turn 27 is significant in why #Arsenal were willing to go to £72million for Pepe and not for Zaha. Also Palace seemingly less willing to accept instalments, unlike #Lille.
— PB (@OliPriceBates) July 27, 2019
These staggered payments appeal to Arsenal due to their limited transfer budget and it also means that the club can look to strengthen other areas, with the Mail reporting that Tierney and a new central defender are still being pursued.
The Ivorian winger will sign a five-year deal, worth in the region of £140,000 per week.
Pepe really was the star of the show for Lille last season and picked up 13 man of the match awards according to WhoScored rankings, no Arsenal player managed more than four.
But let’s go beyond the headline stats and look a little closer at what Pepe’s style of play is.
Pepe’s 22 league goals and 11 assists are certainly what initially caught the eye of Europe’s top clubs. His ability to be so prolific from wide areas gives Arsenal something they don’t already have. The likes of Iwobi and Mkhitaryan have not offered enough in the final third over the last couple of seasons.
Arsenal have really lacked ball carrying wide players also with the likes of Mkhitaryan, Ozil and Iwobi struggling to beat tight defences. Iwobi averaged the most successful dribbles of Arsenal players last season (1.3), Pepe with 2.7 really stands out as an improvement. We must of course remember that Ligue 1 is probably an easier place to take defenders on, but it’s an impressive stat nonetheless.
Fresh Arsenal understands that Daniele Rugani of Juventus is one of a number of defensive options being considered, with the Italian potentially available on a loan with an option to buy.
Talks for Tierney continue, with an agreement with Celtic thought to be close.