Pepe impresses in France
Nicolas Pepe is currently one of the hottest prospects in Ligue 1.
Prior to joining Lille in 2017, Pepe was honing his craft for SCO Angers.
Pepe never really reached his full potential at Angers, though, scoring just three and assisting two in 47 appearances.
However, since his move to Lille for a fee believed to be around £9m, Pepe’s goal contribution record has gone from strength to strength.
The 2017/18 season saw the 24-year-old score 14 and assist five in 38 outings across all competitions.
Pepe then improved that record this past season, as the Ivorian managed to score 23 and assist 12 in 43 games for Lille.
Arsenal moving closer to Pepe
However, it looks as though Pepe’s time in France is coming to an end.
Serie A side Napoli had previously looked to be leading the race for Pepe, with Lille’s president having claimed that the Italian outfit had met their valuation of the Ivorian:
“Napoli has offered only for Pépé and has satisfied our request for 80 million.
“Now it will be up to the player to decide where to go, also on the basis of the proposals that his agents have received from the 4 companies.
“On Monday Pepé will return from vacation and I believe that half a week will dissolve the reserves.” As quoted by Gianluca Di Marzio
However, as mentioned by Lille’s president, Pepe was believed to have proposals from four clubs.
One of those clubs appears to have been Arsenal.
According to BBC Sport’s David Ornstein, the Gunners have reached an agreement with Lille for the transfer of Pepe.
Ornstein claims that the deal will cost Arsenal €80m. However, it will be paid in instalments to fit Arsenal’s budget.
Arsenal have reached an agreement with Lille to sign Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe for ~€80m, paid by instalments to fit #AFC budget. 5yr deal, agent agreement still needed but set to be closed in next 24/48hrs. Napoli also have agreement with #LOSC but agent rejected proposal
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) July 27, 2019