Arsenal are leading the chase for Nicolas Pepe, with Lille willing to negotiate if a club offers €50m (£44.9m), according to reports in France.
L’Equipe reported on Monday morning that Lille will be open to negotiations in the winter window as long as a club is willing to meet their valuation, despite previous insistence that they wouldn’t sell mid-season. France-based football writer Matt Spiro adds that Arsenal are ‘leading the chase’ as it stands, but they’re set to have competition.
Arsenal leading chase for Nicolas Pepe but lots of competition emerging. L’Equipe this morning suggest Lille will negotiate in January if a club opens bidding at €50m. But owner has previously stated he won’t sell mid season
— Matt Spiro (@mattspiro) December 17, 2018
Pepe seems to add to the buzz surrounding him every time he steps onto the pitch. The winger has 12 goals and six assists this season, including goals in all of his four most recent league games. Over the weekend, he scored the winner against Nimes Olympique after a run starting in his own half (watch the below video from 3:10):
He’s just the kind of goalscoring winger Arsenal could do with, considering the likes of Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan haven’t put many away this season, despite Mkhitaryan’s brace on Sunday.
According to France Football’s report last week, Chelsea, Tottenham and ‘especially Arsenal’ are the most ‘fervent’ followers of the winger. French outlet Mercato365 also reported that Pepe is ‘particularly popular’ with Arsenal, and the winger is ‘one of the recruitment priorities’ of the club.
Clearly, most French outlets are in agreement that the Gunners are at the forefront of the race for the player. Arsenal reportedly told Lille back in August that they were planning a January bid. We’ll just have to see if Unai Emery’s transfer team put their money where their mouth is next month.