Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Nicolas Pepe from Lille for a reported fee of £72million.
The lanky winger becomes the club’s record signing, surpassing the £55m spent on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.
The Ivory Coast international scored 22 Ligue 1 goals last season for Lille and it has been reported that the winger has signed a five-year contract at the Emirates.
The 24 year-old put pen to paper on Thursday, and he will be wearing the No.19 shirt.
Head coach Unai Emery said: “Nicolas is a highly-rated and talented winger who was wanted by many of the top teams in Europe.
“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.”
It is believed that Arsenal have paid £20m up front for Pepe, with the remaining £52m to be paid in instalments. The player told the club’s official website:
” Being here is very emotional because it has not been easy for me. “
“I have come a long way and struggled a lot and so signing for this great club is a big reward. It was important to make the right decision and I am convinced that Arsenal is the right choice.
“When I knew I was coming to Arsenal, I immediately thought of the French guys who play here.
I thought of [Mesut] Ozil, the world champions, [Alexandre] Lacazette, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and many more. Of course, these are the players who sprang to mind because I used to watch them when I was at Lille.
“Also, Lacazette used to play for Lyon and so I have had the opportunity to play against him. It will be an honour to play alongside him.”
Arsenal were keen to sign Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha earlier this summer, but after their initial £40m bid was rejected, they moved for Pepe once it became apparent that Lille were willing to negotiate a structured deal.
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