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Arsenal may well want Nicolas Pepe, and they very clearly need him, but it seems as if he’s more likely to end up at Liverpool or even Manchester United.
The problem? The fee of course.
Lille are said to want around €80m for him and even though there are some claims Liverpool have only been linked in a bid to drive up his price, it is clear this is a war Arsenal won’t win.
According to his club manager, Pepe is ‘150% likely to leave this summer’, a statistical impossibility, but you get what he’s saying.
The winger scored 23 goals with 12 assists in 41 games. Still only 23, 35 goal contributions in one of Europe’s top five leagues has drawn the attention of plenty of top clubs, and the player’s manager doesn’t deny that they have no chance of holding onto him this summer.
“Nicolas will not go 100%, he will go 150%,” Galtier said. “It’s an economic reality when you have a player who scored 35 goals in 18 months, solicited by the biggest clubs, who will have major offers.
“My president has a budget to respect, there is a balance in the locker room to respect the wages and how to prevent a player from leaving surely for a large European club? It is impossible!”
Sport write about Arsenal’s chances of landing Pepe:
Arsenal are in exactly the same position as United, only much worse.
They, too, are desperate for a winger. The Gunners also don’t have the offer of Champions League. However, where the fork appears from United is that Unai Emery has little funds to spend.
Pepe is a perfect acquisition for Arsenal but it would require Europe calling Lille’s bluff in regards to his price tag in order for them to join the arena.
Whether Pepe is actually worth the €80m Lille desire is up for debate – incidentally, that could be why reports in France are curiously linking Liverpool to him in an attempt to begin a bidding war.
And after the club have said he will definitely leave this summer, there’s a chance the price could come down if interest has cooled elsewhere. That’s where Arsenal could arrive. Still, it’s a lot of variables and right now, Arsenal are not a big player when it comes to the major transfer game.
SUITABILITY = 9/10 PROBABILITY = 3/1
Sport seem to believe Bayern Munich are the favourites for the player’s signature from Arsenal, Liverpool, United, Bayern Inter Milan and PSG. They are, of course, trying to replace Franck Ribery as well as undergoing a heavily-financed squad overhaul.
Arsenal are bottom of that list.