Arsenal sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille for club-record fee

Nicolas Pepe has been signed by Arsenal from Lille
Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal have completed the signing of Nicolas Pepe from Lille for a club-record fee.

The 24-year-old Ivory Coast international has signed a deal at the Emirates Stadium for an undisclosed fee, believed to be worth £72m (€79m).

Pepe’s move eclipses the £55m (€60m) spent on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January 2018 as the Gunners add another attacking option to their ranks.

Arsenal confirmed the paperwork for the move, which is “subject to the completion of regulatory processes” had been finalised on Thursday, and Pepe would wear the number 19 shirt.

Gunners head coach Unai Emery said: “Nicolas is a highly-rated and talented winger who was wanted by many of the top teams in Europe.

“Signing a top-class winger has been one of our key objectives in this transfer window and I’m delighted he’s joining.”

Pepe scored 22 Ligue 1 goals last season and was linked with a host of clubs over the summer including Manchester United and Napoli.

Arsenal emerged late last week as the somewhat surprising front-runners and have completed the deal which will include paying for the player in instalments.

PA understands Arsenal’s analysis team pinpointed the need for more pace and skill in attack as a way of improving their form away from home.

Pepe said in an interview with Arsenal Media: “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.”

Asked how he would describe his playing style, the Ivory Coast international said: Fast. Quick to connect with the ball and a good finisher as well. That is also an area where I have made progress.

“I would say that I am quick and a dribbler.”

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