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Arsenal are leading the race to sign Nicolas Pepe and Lille may be tempted to cash-in this winter if £45m is put on the table, according to reports in France via TeamTalk.
Unai Emery is being tipped to enter the transfer market when the January transfer window opens with a new wide forward among his targets after Danny Welbeck was ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are our primary strikers but without Welbeck – who can play up front or on the wings – we have limited options through the middle and out wide so it makes sense for Emery to dip in to the market this winter.
Arsenal have been linked with a number of players in recent weeks but Pepe has emerged as a prime target and TeamTalk suggest that Emery has now informed the club he wants to launch a swoop for the exciting attacker.
The report cites L’Equipe – via French-based journalist Matt Spiro – as claiming Arsenal are now leading the race to sign Pepe and Lille may reluctantly cash-in if £45m is put on the table despite their owner’s reluctance to lose their star man mid-season.
TeamTalk state that the Ivory Coast international has a release clause set at around £45m and while Arsenal may try and drive the price down, Emery hopes to convince his bosses it would be money well spent.
The 23-year-old has been hugely impressive since joining Lille in 2017 and he’s enjoying an excellent campaign having provided 12 goals and 7 assists in his 18 Ligue 1 games so far this season.
Pepe is predominantly a right winger but he’s also comfortable playing up front so it’s easy to see why he’s being considered as a replacement for Welbeck if Arsenal were able to get a deal agreed this winter.
We’ll have to wait and see how things progress over the coming weeks but I think we need to sign a wide attacker and a top class centre-back in January if we’re to maintain our push for a top four finish this season and Pepe would be a great start.