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Arsenal pay record £72m fee for Lille's Pepe

Arsenal pay record £72m fee for Lille's Pepe”

The Ivory Coast global completed a club-record £72m move to Arsenal from Ligue 1 side Lille on Thursday to become Unai Emery's fourth signing of the summer.

But there is new hope with Pepe that the 24-year-old can fire them higher up the table.

"Nicolas is a highly-rated and talented winger who was wanted by numerous top teams in Europe", said Arsenal coach Unai Emery.

Lille finished second in Ligue 1 last season, 16 points behind champions PSG.

"Signing a top-class winger has been one of our key objectives in this transfer window and I'm delighted he's joining".

Pepe showed up at the club's Colney training complex for the medical already with a bag in his hand emblazoned with the Arsenal badge and stuffed full of club merchandise. Then I also thought of Mesut Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang and many more.

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While they were able to afford it in the form of installments being paid to Lille, Arsenal are still looking to account for the fee of £72 million by offloading some more players.

But, despite 31 goals in all competitions, even the 30-year-old wasn't completely blameless, with some anonymous displays leaving strike partner Alexandre Lacazette isolated and persuading Emery to move him to the flanks at times.

"He will add pace, power and creativity, with the aim of bringing more goals to our team".

Pepe, who will wear the number 19 shirt, is the Gunners' fourth signing of the summer, following forward Gabriel Martinelli, midfielder Dani Ceballos, who joined on a season-long loan from Real Madrid, and defender William Saliba, who was signed from St Etienne and immediately loaned back to the Ligue 1 side.

I am optimistic that Arsenal will have a great season but I am also realistic to know it is far from guaranteed, that Pepe is just one young lad and that we are still only in the Europa League and that a top-four finish is far from assured.

On Sunday Arsenal play FC Barcelona in the Joan Gamper Trophy as they wrap preparations for the new season, which the Gunners kick off on August 11 away to Newcastle United.

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