Arsenal have intensified their pursuit of Lille winger Nicolas Pepe, according to reports in Spain.
In recent weeks Barcelona have joined the race for Pepe, but Mundo Deportivo (via SportWitness) write that Arsenal and Bayern Munich have only intensified their own interest as a result. The Spanish outlet describes the two clubs as ‘luxury competition’ for Barcelona. Clearly, they don’t expect the transfer to be completely straightforward.
Part of the issue might be that Barcelona only recently signed a winger, Malcom, and can’t even give him game time. The Brazilian has only played 25 minutes of football in the first few months of the season, so signing yet another wide player would just compound the problem.
Last week, we covered reports from French outlet Le10Sport, claiming Arsenal told Lille in August that they were planning to come back with an official bid in the January window.
There were various barriers to a move back then, including the Gunners restricted summer budget and, more importantly, the early Premier League deadline.
Since telling Lille of their interest though, Pepe has been on fire for his current side. He has six goals and five assists in nine matches this season, as well as winning a penalty against Marseille.
As a result of his good form, the French media now expect Lille to ask for closer to €50m (£44m) than the £30m reported over the summer. We’ll have to wait and see if Arsenal can fight off the competition and secure the signing in the upcoming windows.