Nicolas Pepe’s representative Samir Khiat has revealed that Arsenal managed to lure the attacker ahead of other teams after making the better proposal in terms of the project. The Ivorian had been linked with the likes of Napoli and Liverpool during the summer transfer window but the Gunners managed to edge in front by offering him with the assurance of a regular starting role.
He told L’Equipe Mercato: “For us it was the best decision for Nicolas, it was the right choice. We always made the footballing choices, rather than financial ones. Arsenal can bring him a continuity in terms of what he did before. And also in terms of playing time. What he did last year… he has no limits. He was sought after by the biggest clubs in Europe, there were offers from top five European clubs.”
At one point of time, it was unexpected that the Gunners would make the move for Pepe, considering the £72m valuation from Lille. However, they managed to hijack the deal at the 11th hour from Napoli and it was thereafter revealed that the payment package had been negotiated in such a way that the Gunners would only part with an initial amount of £20m.
Pepe did not feature for the Gunners during the final two pre-season games as he had just returned from a vacation following the African Cup of Nations. As such, the Premier League opener against Newcastle United could be regarded as a potential date to make his Gunners blow and it will be interesting to see whether he can get the ground running from the off.
Elsewhere, the north London giants ended the summer transfer window on a positive note with the purchases of David Luiz and Kieran Tierney from Chelsea and Celtic respectively. The duo are expected to play key roles in the defence during the course of the 2019/2020 season.