Nicolas Pepe is reported to have given the green light to a five-year deal with Arsenal after the Gunners and Lille OSC came to an agreement on a club-record fee of £72m for the 24-year-old winger.
The London-bound forward had a sensational season in France, scoring 22 goals and providing 11 assists in 38 appearances
S.S.C. Napoli were also believed to be interested in a deal for Pepe, but Arsenal made a late bid offering a more attractive move for the 24-year-old.
Arsenal make small budget stretch far
Arsenal’s summer spending has been shrewd as a result of their limited transfer budget which was widely reported at £45m at the start of the transfer window.
The payment structure for the transfer is understood to be set out over five years, with Arsenal paying just £20m upfront and Lille receiving a further £13m over the next four seasons.
Gunners fans were quick to express their concern at the £72m fee, but BBC Sport correspondent David Ornstein reassured fans on BBC 5 Live Sport: “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexander Lacazette will not be leaving Arsenal to help finance this deal”.
Wilfried Zaha was understood to be Arsenal’s number one transfer target this summer, although Arsenal have been unable to agree on a fee with Crystal Palace. The Eagles are reported to want at least £50m upfront in a deal worth £75m.
Pepe’s signing will take Arsenal’s transfer tally to four so far this window, after Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba and Dani Ceballos all joining the Gunners.
However, Arsenal fans will have to wait a season to see Saliba at the Emirates Stadium after the young French defender returned to AS Saint-Étienne on a season-long loan.
What next for Arsenal?
Fans now hope Arsenal will turn their attention to securing the signature of another summer-long transfer target Kieran Tierney.
Celtic have already rejected two bids falling short of their £25m valuation for the Scotland international. A third bid is expected to be made this week, according to reports.
Following the Emirates Cup defeat to Olympique Lyonnais, Unai Emery also said that the Club was in the market for a centre back in the post-match press conference.
Many Arsenal fans would believe the completion of the Pepe and Tierney deals along with a centre back would be the perfect transfer window as it would address their key weaknesses.