The French pipeline at Arsenal continues to build upon itself even after Arsene Wenger has departed.
According to multiple reports across England, including The Guardian and the BBC, Arsenal is nearing a deal with Lille for winger Nicolas Pepe that would break the club’s transfer record. The reports say Pepe would Arsenal back to the tune of $89 million, smashing the previous club record of $69 million paid to secure Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 18 months ago.
The deal still has work to do, as the clubs need to agree on a payment structure with the Gunners requiring installments to complete the deal thanks to a significantly lower budget this summer, and the club must still agree to terms with the player, something Napoli has thus far failed to do despite submitting an acceptable bid.
Napoli was reportedly one of four teams that came to a financial agreement with Lille, club president Gerard Lopez confirmed on Friday, but none of them had yet stood out to the player for personal terms. However, the BBC reports that while personal terms are still to be agreed upon, Arsenal expects that to be completed as soon as the next 48 hours.
The 24-year-old Ivorian set Ligue 1 alight last season with a fabulous 22-goal haul in 38 league appearances, contributing another 11 assists on top of that. He was a big reason why the club finished second in the table behind only champions Paris Saint-Germain. Still, many consider Pepe an unfinished product, and Arsenal will be tasked with completing his development and making sure he is not a one-hit wonder, nearly doubling his previous goal total of 13 the season before.
Pepe would become the fourth signing of the summer for Arsenal, behind threee confirmed deals in Dani Ceballos, Gabriel Martinelli, and William Saliba. Cabellos is on loan from Real Madrid, while Saliba was sent back on loan to St. Etienne for the upcoming season.