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Arsenal have emerged as frontrunners in the race to sign an in-form Ligue 1 star worth €50million, according to a report.
The Gunners seemed to recently confirm that they will dip their toes into transfer market in January after Danny Welbeck was sidelined for the rest of the season with the broken ankle injury he sustained in the Europa League clash against Sporting Lisbon.
And having scoured the market for potential new recruits, Emery apparently informed Arsenal that he wants the club to launch a bid for in-demand Lille star Nicolas Pepe.
The Ivory Coast winger has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for around £45million – and while that is more than the Gunners are hoping to spend – Emery will try and convince the board that it’s money well spent with the player having already scored eight goals and laid on five assists in 13 Ligue 1 games this season.
Now, a report from L’Equipe (via journalist Matt Spiro on Twitter) suggests that Arsenal are leading the race for Pepe and that Lille will negotiate in January for the right price.
The 23-year-old has been a huge part of the Ligue 1 side’s early-season success, scoring 12 goals and helping Lille into second spot behind only PSG.
Lille may apparently be tempted to discuss a deal should a bid of €50million arrive for his services, but the club’s owner is not keen on losing his star man part way through the campaign.
Arsenal are reportedly battling a number of clubs to land Pepe, with Chelsea and Manchester City previously linked.