Nicolas Pepe completes move to Arsenal from Lille for club-record £72m

Pepe: "I have come a long way and struggled a lot and so signing for this great club is a big reward"

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Arsenal unveil new signing Nicolas Pepe at London Colney on July 31, 2019 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Image: Nicolas Pepe becomes Arsenal's club-record signing

Arsenal have completed the signing of Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille for a club-record fee.

Sky Sports News understands the Gunners have paid £72m for the 24-year-old, who is believed to have signed a five-year deal.

After confirming Pepe's signing, Unai Emery said: "Nicolas is a highly-rated and talented winger who was wanted by many of the top teams in Europe.

"Signing a top-class winger has been one of our key objectives in this transfer window and I'm delighted he's joining. He will add pace, power and creativity, with the aim of bringing more goals to our team."

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Arsenal unveil new signing Nicolas Pepe at London Colney on July 31, 2019 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Image: Pepe is believed to have signed a five-year deal

Pepe had an outstanding season with Lille in 2018/19, scoring 23 goals and registering 12 assists in 41 games.

Arsenal are understood to have beaten Napoli to Pepe's signature, and the forward will wear the number 19 shirt at the Emirates.

He becomes the Gunners' fourth signing of the summer, following Dani Ceballos, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba, who will spend the season on loan at Saint-Etienne.

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After sealing his move to Arsenal, Pepe said: "Being here is very emotional because it has not been easy for me. I have come a long way and struggled a lot and so signing for this great club is a big reward.

"It was important to make the right decision and I am convinced that Arsenal is the right choice."

When asked who he is looking forward to lining up alongside in an Arsenal shirt, Pepe said: "The French guys who play here.

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal). Adidas New 2019-20 Kit Shoot. Club Day. Arsenal Training Ground, London Colney, 12/3/19. Credit : Arsenal Football Club / David Price.
Image: Pepe says he is looking forward to playing alongside Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

"Then I also thought of [Mesut] Ozil, the world champions, [Alexandre] Lacazette, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and many more. Of course, these are the players who sprang to mind because I used to watch them when I was at Lille.

"Also, Lacazette used to play for Lyon and so I have had the opportunity to play against him and it will be an honour to play alongside him."

Analysis: How can Arsenal afford £72m?

It was reported earlier this summer that Arsenal's budget was around £45m after missing out on qualifying for the Champions League. So, what's really going on? We look at the key questions surrounding Arsenal's move for Pepe and their transfer budget…

Read Sky Sports' feature about the Nicolas Pepe deal...

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