Arsenal record signing Nicolas Pepe has been pictured in Gunners kit for the first time after a leaked video showed him posing for pictures ahead of the imminent official announcement of his £72m move from Lille.
With the summer headlines dominated by claims of the Gunners operating on a minimal budget, Arsenal are believed to have structured payment of the fee over a multi-year period and fans will expect a swift return on the investment after Pepe starred in Ligue 1 last season.
Only Kylian Mbappe scored more goals in Ligue 1 than Pepe’s 22, while the Ivorian also came second in the French division’s assist rankings with 11. His performances propelled a Lille side that had come close to relegation in 2017/18 to second place and Champions League qualification.
Lille president Gerard Lopez has been very outspoken during the long saga and Arsenal are believed to have beaten a number of clubs to Pepe’s signature. Napoli, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Manchester United were all heavily linked with the 24-year-old.
Pepe is Arsenal’s third signing of the summer following the recent £25m capture of teenage defender William Saliba, who has immediately returned to former club Saint-Etienne on loan, and the loan arrival of Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos.
Arsenal continue to hunt deals, however, and it appears that Celtic full-back Kieran Tierney might also finally join the club after a potential breakthrough in talks.