09:15 05 Aug 2019
Ivorian star Nicolas Pepe says joining Arsenal from Lille is the “right choice” and he is looking forward to starring in the famous red and white.
The 24-year-old joined the Gunners last week in a £72 million move, which eclipsed the previous club record the London side paid for Gabonese striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.
Pepe, who will wear the number 19 shirt at the Emirates Stadium, says he was contemplating the transfer while representing the Elephants at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in June and July.
“Being here is very emotional because it has not been easy for me. I have come a long way and struggled a lot and so signing for this great club is a big reward,” Pepe told the club’s official website.
“It was my family and my agents [who convinced him to sign]. We talked and thought a lot about it.
“It was at the time of the CAN [Africa Cup of Nations] as well, we thought a lot during, before and after the CAN.
“It was important to make the right decision and I am convinced that Arsenal is the right choice.”
He added that he is proud to continue the tradition of Ivorian players representing Arsenal, such as Kolo Tour and Gervinho.
“They are the major players from the Ivory Coast. We talk a lot about Gervinho, for example, who played for Lille and ended up at Arsenal so I am on the same path.
“They are definitely examples to us young Ivorians and I hope we will continue to follow these examples.”