Arsenal transfer news: How will Nicolas Pepe fit into Unai Emery’s starting line up after £72m move?

The winger poses some interesting tactical and selection dilemmas for the Gunners coach

Tom Kershaw@trlkershaw
Thursday 01 August 2019 16:59
Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette leaves Emirates Stadium in protective boot

Unai Emery‘s wishes were finally delivered as Arsenal smashed their club transfer record and completed a £72m deal for Nicolas Pepe.

After the club’s hapless move for Denis Suarez last January, the prolific Ivorian winger, who scored 22 goals and added 11 assists in Ligue 1 last season, brings a genuine goalscoring threat. However, his addition does pose some interesting conundrums for Arsenal’s starting line-up.

If Emery wishes to include all three members of his attacking trio in the starting eleven, the arrival of Pepe means Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will likely be forced out wide while Alexandre Lacazette continues to take up the central role. That will leave Reiss Nelson, Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all fighting over a back-up role that could even see one of the three struggle to make the matchday squad.

Dani Ceballos’ signing on loan from Real Madrid also poses questions as to how Emery will juggle his midfield. It’s widely expected that no space will be left for Mesut Ozil, while Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi continue to fight for the two deep-lying midfield positions.

In defence, Kieran Tierney‘s possible arrival is set to leave one of Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal frittering on the fringes. However, the Spaniard may be forced to occupy a central defensive role if Emery opts to play his favoured back-five with the futures of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi increasingly unclear.

Check out the gallery above to see how we think Arsenal will start next season.

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