Arsenal are confident of concluding a £72million deal for Lille’s coveted forward Nicolas Pepe after a breakthrough in negotiations on Friday evening.
The French club had also reached agreement with Napoli over the fee but Pepe’s agents have rejected their contract offer following talks on Thursday.
Arsenal now hope to finalise a deal by Monday.
Arsenal have reached an agreement to sign Lille winger Nicolas Pepe for £72million
The Gunners will split the transfer fee over five seasons in order to fit with their budget
The fee will be structured in instalments to fall in line with Arsenal’s limited budget which has threatened a number of their bids this summer, notably for Crystal palace forward Wilfried Zaha.
Arsenal are also understood to be offering better terms for the 24-year-old Pepe who is poised to agree a five-year contract.
Unai Emery’s scouts have followed the exciting forward for some time yet Arsenal were wary of becoming embroiled in a bidding war as the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Paris St Germain and Bayern Munich were all linked. Pepe is quick, can play across the front line and scored 23 goals in 41 appearances last season.
The Ivory Cost international’s agents had held talks with Napoli on Thursday and looked to be close to agreement, however, it is understood Napoli’s offer of around £3.6million a year after tax fell short of the player’s demands.
Unai Emery’s side had been previously been linked with Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha