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Arsenal’s reported move for Nicolas Pepe would be a major coup

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

According to French publication L’Equipe (via Get French Football News), Arsenal are one of a number of clubs to have agreed a deal with Lille for winger Nicolas Pepe.

What’s the word?

Reports in recent weeks had suggested that the Gunners’ primary target for a wide player was Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, but that the north London side’s bid for the 26-year-old was still far short of the mark.

Now, L’Equipe suggest that Arsenal have seemingly turned their attentions towards Pepe, and that along with the likes of Inter, Napoli and Liverpool, have agreed a €80m (£71.7m) deal with Lille.

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The report adds that the French side’s boss Christophe Galtier has spoken to Pepe and told him to make a decision on his future move imminently.

A statement signing

The Gunners have been linked with Pepe’s name for a number of months and were rumoured to be in the race for the Ivorian’s signature earlier on last season.

However, Unai Emery’s side’s failure to qualify for the Champions League seemingly put an end to any hopes of a potential swoop as it was felt that their reported budget would not extend enough to afford such a big-money signing.

If the Gunners – as reports indicate – are back in the race to sign the 24-year-old and have indeed agreed a fee with Pepe’s club, then it could be the biggest statement of the summer transfer window. Missing out on European football’s elite competition was supposed to be the breaking point for Arsenal potentially splashing the cash and going after big-name targets; signing Pepe now after a disastrous end to the campaign last season would be a huge coup.

It would be a sign that the Gunners can still compete with the best, and simultaneously bring in a player the world’s best sides have coveted – European champions Liverpool are one of the other suitors, per the report. Arsenal may not be dining at the top table anymore, but they certainly would be enjoying a luxury feast by clinching Pepe’s signature.

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Article title: Arsenal’s reported move for Nicolas Pepe would be a major coup

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