Finally, Nicolas Pepe is a Gunner.
After weeks of speculation and a little more than a week of intense rumour and titbits from the club and manager even, Nicolas Pepe is officially an Arsenal player.
The winger has become our record signing, at £72m his acquisition is £16m more than our previous record holder, the £56m Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
How did this occur when it was common knowledge that our budget was tight and a bid of this nature should have been out of the question?
Well, step forward Raul Sanllehi.
The Spaniard sports mogul was behind the structured payment that allowed Arsenal to obtain one of the hottest properties in football.
It meant that our tight budget was not a limit, we kept within the confines of our meagre allowance, and Lille accepted our invitation to spread the payment over a number of years, as well as a larger payment to the players agent than other rival bids.
So we can now look forward to the winger in our red and white, and an attack that is complete, filled with pace, movement and lethal finishing.
Why was Pepe so expensive? Well, 22 goals and 11 assists from 33 games is one hell of a ratio. His overall career gives a ratio of nearly a goal every three games. Not bad for a man primarily known as a wideman.
Pepe is also extraordinarily fast. A quick check on YouTube for a Pepe compilation shows that when threaded through and bearing down on goal, there is no catching him. There were at least five goals he scored where the head start defenders had on him gave him no right to get to the ball. Not only did he do so, he also opportunistically and instinctively scored when he really shouldn’t have.
The pricetag is one hell of a weight on the Ivorian’s shoulders, but if he can keep his touch, his speed and fingers crossed, stay injury free, we have one hell of a player on our hands.
He will play on the flank and crucially, being predominantly left footed, he can give us true balance. It means that if played in a 4-2-3-1, the playmaker position can have runners from both flanks to find, as well as Lacazette up top. That not only means more choice for most likely Ozil, but also an absolute nightmare to defend against.
Pepe’s welcome on social media was built up expertly by Arsenal’s social media team, and we are rightfully enjoying the fact we have signed a truly dangerous player that will benefit us.
Welcome to Arsenal Nico Pepe!