According to Mercato 365, Arsenal are eyeing a move for LOSC Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe in the upcoming transfer window. The Gunners are keen to shore up their attack in January and are even willing to splash a whopping €50 million fee for the services of the Ivorian international.
And in this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of Pepe’s potential move to Emirates.
Arsenal were long-linked with a move for Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele, largely because of his directness and pace, which made him one of the most sought-after young players in Europe. And much like the Frenchman, Nicolas Pepe also loves to take on defenders and has excellent close-control.
Indeed, Pepe averages four dribbles per game – significantly more than any other Arsenal player this season. Aside from his dribbling prowess, Pepe is also blessed with sheer pace, which tunes in well with Unai Emery’s pacy attacking setup consisting of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alex Iwobi and co.
Therefore, the Ivorian can easily be accommodated into Emery’s fast-paced gameplay in the final third, where his pace and aggressive mentality will add more thrust to the Arsenal attack.
However, what has made Pepe such a sought-after talent in European football is his exceptional form in front of goal. The 23-year-old has already netted nine goals so far this season while his tally of seven assists indicates his astounding productivity in the final third.
Furthermore, the Gunners are still yet to buy a proper replacement for Alexis Sanchez and although, Nicolas Pepe is no Sanchez per se, the LOSC Lille star certainly has the potential as well as the skillset to prove himself a real coup for the North London giants.
On the flip side, Pepe often tends to lose the ball and also has an awful first touch. As a matter of fact, the 23-year-old has been dispossessed 45 times. Only Neymar has managed more while teammate Jonathan Bamba is level with 45.
In addition, Pepe has racked up 50 unsuccessful touches so far, which also ranks among top five in the league. And this tally could surely increase in the fast-paced Premier League unless the Ivorian improves his overall composure in the final third.
Another potential downside regarding Pepe’s move to Arsenal is his price-tag. Lille have been reluctant to let go of their asset, as a result of which, the Gunners might have to spend around €50 million – making Pepe no less than a gamble for Arsenal.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored