Arsenal are set to complete the £72m of Nicolas Pepe in the next few days, and it is understood that the more favourable structure of the deal saw them turn to the Lille winger over Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha.
Zaha had been intent on the switch, and is now left anxious about his future and hoping for a transfer to Everton, after the demands of both Palace and the player’s representative ultimately put Arsenal off.
Although Pepe and Zaha would have been roughly the same fee – at a total of around £70m – the Selhurst Park hierarchy wanted at least £55m up front.
Lille have instead agreed a deal whereby the payment is spread over a number of years, allowing Arsenal to secure such a signing while also sticking to a more limited transfer budget this summer.
It is similarly understood that Pepe’s wage demands are far lower, which was another issue causing Arsenal to stall on the Zaha deal.
Arsenal are confident, meanwhile, that they will be able to agree a deal with Celtic for full back Kieran Tierney.
The Gunners have seen two bids rejected by the Scottish champions, who reportedly value the 22-year-old at £25m.
But according to Sky Sports, Arsenal are “increasingly confident that a deal with Celtic for Tierney is edging closer”.
Elsewhere, highly rated youngster Xavier Amaechi has left the club, joining German second division side Hamburg for an initial fee of €2.5m.
Elsewhere, Sami Khedira has been linked to the Gunners.
BeIN Sports is reporting that the club is close to landing the Juventus midfielder, who was spotted at the Emirates ahead of Arsenal’s pre-season friendly with Lyon.
Unai Emery has also explained why both Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac, who were recently subjected to an attempted car-jacking, were absent from the squad that played against Lyon.
“Every player is very important in the team, but also each moment and some circumstances give us a decision between the player and us,” said the Spaniard in his post-match press conference.
“It’s not a good moment to play because their mind is not now 100 per cent. It’s a very personal circumstance and the most important thing now is that they can feel good, they can feel safe, they can feel calm with their family.
“They came this morning but I spoke to them and decided it was best to continue their resting with their families and wait for a few days to hopefully come and start normally with the team.”
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