According to L’Équipe via GFFN, Lille are demanding Nicolas Pepe make a decision over his future after Arsenal, Liverpool and Inter Milan tabled £72m [€80m] bids for his signature.
Unai Emery knows he needs to add to his unbalanced squad before the start of the new season and a wide forward is desperately needed as we lack any genuine width in the ranks at present.
We continue to be strongly linked with Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha and Brazilian winger Everton but Pepe has also been touted as a target by the media throughout the summer after starring for Lille last season.
The 24-year-old provided 23 goals and 12 assists in his 41 appearances last campaign to help Lille finish second in Ligue 1 so it’s no wonder there has been a whole host of clubs showing a keen interest in recruiting him.
French publication Telefoot claimed earlier this week that Arsenal had submitted a £72m [€80m] offer for Pepe and that has been supported by L’Equipe, via GFFN, who are also reporting that we’ve put the club record figure on the table.
The report says Liverpool and Inter Milan have also tabled £72m bids and Lille are now demanding Pepe must make a decision over whether to join any of the three clubs. If he rejects all three moves, then Lille will contact other interested parties to see if they’ll match the offers currently on the table.
Pepe would be an exciting signing as he’s one of the most highly-rated attackers in French football and he can play anywhere across the front three so he’d give Emery a versatile option in the final third.
However, my fear is that in order to afford his £72m fee we’d have to sell the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette as Emery has reportedly been given just £45m to spend this summer.
The boss also needs to sign a full-back, centre-back and midfielder before the window closes so there is no way we can afford Pepe without cashing-in on one of our key players.
As much as I’d love to see the Ivory Coast international at Arsenal, it would be counter-productive if his signing meant Auba or Laca were to leave. Let’s see what decision he makes but I hope we find a way to buy Pepe and keep hold of our star strikers.