Arsenal almost missed out in signing this talent- Agent reveals

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Arsenal nearly lost out on record signing Nicolas Pepe last summer when the star was leaving Lille.

Serie A side Napoli were competing with the Gunners for the winger’s signature and looked to have the upper hand.

But financial difficulties eventually scuppered their bid and Arsenal pounced to bring Pepe to London.

The Ivorian winger’s agent spoke to Radio Marte this week to confirm details which were reported at the time.

Relayed by Corriere dello Sport, Mario Giuffredi said: “I was in Dimaro, convinced Napoli had got him.

“Unfortunately, however, other factors come into play and when we talk of commissions, Napoli are limited in certain operations.

“Then the agents have also made their interests”.

Pepe has not exactly hit the ground running at the Emirates, scoring just once from the penalty spot so far.

The 24-year-old did find the net for the Ivory Coast in a 3-1 win over DR Congo on Sunday.

And Arsenal boss Unai Emery is confident that Pepe will prove a valuable asset once his confidence returns.

“I am sure that Pepe is an amazing player,” he said. “A lot of players when they came here, the first month, the first year is not easy for them.

“But I am going to work with him, to make it easier for Pepe and Dani Ceballos and other players, and carry on, being together and be strong.

“He is playing well but progressively we know there is going to be more from him to help us and I want him to take the last step quickly in adapting for us.”

Arsenal have accumulated 15 points form their first eight Premier League games and sit third in the table.

The north Londoners face a trip to Bramall Lane to take on Sheffield United on Monday night (8pm) once the international break is over.

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