Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe has officially signed for Arsenal, the club announced on Thursday.
It’s a game-changing addition for Arsenal, who had previously appeared to be bumbling their way through yet another transfer window.
Singing Nicolas Pepe adds quality, dynamism and penetration in the wide areas – where Arsenal really needed it.
As well as that, smashing their transfer record by spending £72 million on Nicolas Pepe sends a message.
The message is that Arsenal won’t meekly accept their Europa League status, and that the club is open for business in a way that it wasn’t under the Wenger/Gazidis regime.
Coming off the back of a 23 goals and 12 assists season for Lille, Pepe was being courted by some of Europe’s top teams. Despite the more lucrative opportunities, he feels that Arsenal is the right place for him to grow.
“Being here is very emotional because it has not been easy for me,” he said.
“I have come a long way and struggled a lot and so signing for this great club is a big reward.”
He added that conversations with his family and agents helped him to make the decision.
“It was at the time of the CAN [Africa Cup of Nations] as well, we thought a lot during, before and after the CAN. It was important to make the right decision and I am convinced that Arsenal is the right choice.”
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Head coach Unai Emery needs penetrative widemen to implement his system, so it’s no surprise he’s excited about signing Pepe.
“Signing a top-class winger has been one of our key objectives in this transfer window and I’m delighted he’s joining.
“He will add pace, power and creativity, with the aim of bringing more goals to our team.”