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Arsenal completes £72m club-record deal for Pepe

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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)

Arsenal have completed the signing of Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72 million on a five-year deal. The Gunners broke their transfer record to bring in the Ivorian winger from the French League.

Pepe set the Ligue 1 alight with his 22 goals and 11 assists to lead Lille into the Champions League after finishing second behind Paris Saint Germain.

The winger will add pace and directness to the attack of Arsenal that features the prolific duo of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Aubameyang, who joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in 2018 for £56m, held the club transfer record before Pepe’s deal.

The 24-year-old on his arrival at the club said he was excited to play alongside the top players at the club.

“When I knew I was coming to Arsenal, I immediately thought of the French guys who play here,” Pepe told Arsenal.com.

“I thought of Özil, the world champions, Lacazette, 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. It will be an honour to play alongside him.”

Pepe is Arsenal’s fourth signing of the transfer window after Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba and Dani Ceballos joined the club.

According to reports, Arsenal will pay an initial fee of £20m upfront before paying off the remaining £42m in instalments over the five-years of Pepe’s contract.

The Gunners will look to improving their lean defence with Laurent Koscielny looking to move to Rennes, and Shkodran Mustafi on his way out.

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