Arsenal Will Reportedly Announce £72M Nicolas Pepe Transfer Today
Arsenal will reportedly announce the completion of the £72million signing of Nicolas Pepe today. The Gunners have spent the past two days putting the finishing touches to the club-record deal for the Ivory Coast winger.
Lille's president Gerard Lopez has confirmed via RMC that the deal between the two clubs is sealed. "The deal will be done within 24 hours. It is for £72m plus some other details."
Confirmation that an announcement is imminent will be welcome news to Arsenal fans who have grown excited by the sudden move for Pepe. The 24-year-old looked to be on the way to Italian side Napoli after they agreed on terms with Lille last week. However, the Gunners have clearly double-timed their approach and reports say that Head of Football Raul Sanllehi was responsible for pulling off the huge deal.
Paparazzi photos of Pepe holding an Arsenal shopping bag have already flooded the internet, leaving after completing his medical, published by SunSport. The winger has also already posed for his promo shots for the transfer announcement.
It's unclear why Arsenal have decided to delay making the announcement official, but the word is that it's because the side was in pre-season friendly action yesterday. Earlier today, Unai Emery said that the club is merely "following" Pepe for the time being and no deal has been finalized.
"No deal is official now, and I will only speak in the next hours or days if it can be official for us," Emery said. "We are working on the possibilities to sign players. We signed [Dani] Ceballos, and we have a possibility with Pepe. We are looking for the possibility to improve, but only if we can take more steps in the squad."
The Gunners secured a 1-1 draw at Angers as Reiss Nelson hit the target for the London side, who again showed signs of defensive frailties. The club is bent on easing the concerns over the next few days before the transfer window officially ends by doubling their efforts to bag in a defender.
Daniel Rugani of Juventus seems to be the number 1 choice. Previous reports claim Arsenal are trying to close a two-year loan deal for the Italian. Considered as one of Italy's best defenders, Rugani's chances at Juventus have been compromised by the continued good for of Leonardo Bonucci and Georgio Chiellini.
With the club bringing in Ajax star Mathijs de Ligt, Rugani could be surplus to requirements and a loan deal seems right for Arsenal's limited funds.