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Arsenal agree club record £72m fee for Nicolas Pepe

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Arsenal have reached an agreement with French club Lille to sign Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe in a deal worth 80m Euros (£72m).

According to BBC, the Gunners will pay for the 24-year-old via a series of instalments that suit their restricted budget for this summer.

Arsenal are poised to break the existing record of the £60m that the club paid Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 for striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

An agreement between Arsenal and Pepe’s representatives still needs to be finalized but the transfer is expected to be completed in the next 24 hours.

Italian side Napoli also met Lille’s asking price, but their proposal was rejected by the player’s camp.

Pepe tends to operate on the right wing and cut in on to his left foot, but can also be used as a striker in a 4-4-2 formation.

He scored 23 goals for Lille last season and satisfies Arsenal’s need for a wide player with pace and high technical ability.

The Ivory Coast international also attracted attention from the French giants Paris Saint-Germain, but pulled out of the deal on grounds of the financial fair play system.

Arsenal offered £40m for Crystal Palace’s Ivory Coast winger Wilfried Zaha earlier this month, but their Premier League rivals value the player at about £80m.

Pepe will become the fourth summer signing for Arsenal after the club announced the double-signing of defender William Saliba and Dani Ceballos from St Etienne and Real Madrid respectively and Gabriel Martinelli from Brazil.

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