09:15 28 Jul 2019
Premier League giants Arsenal have reportedly reached an agreement with French Ligue 1 club Lille to sign Nicolas Pepe for a club-record £72million.
The 24-year-old Ivory Coast star could complete a transfer to the Gunners before the weekend is out.
According to BBC Sport, Pepe will pen a five-year deal subject to an agreement with his agent. The move seems to signal an end of Arsenal’s pursuit of Pepe’s compatriot, Wilfried Zaha at Crystal Palace.
The fee is set to be paid in instalments to fit Arsenal’s summer budget, which is understood to be just £40million.
Arsenal have already spent £27million to sign William Saliba from Saint-Etienne (before loaning the defender back to the club), £6million on teenager Gabriel Martinelli, and brought in Spain Under-21 international Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid.
If the Pepe deal goes through, the forward would become the most expensive Arsenal player of all time, eclipsing the £55million paid for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2018.
The Lille star took Ligue 1 by storm last season, netting 19 times and providing 11 assists in 32 games to catch the eye of several top clubs.