Nicolas Pepe: Frenchman explains what encouraged him to sign for Arsenal

Arsenal have completed a club-record £72m deal to sign the 24-year-old from Lille, making him the third most expensive signing in Premier League history

Alan O'Brien
Thursday 01 August 2019 16:48
comments
Arsenal advert reveals new Adidas kit for 2019-20 season

Nicolas Pepe has explained that the opportunity to play alongside his fellow Frenchman at Arsenal encouraged him to join the club.

Arsenal have completed a club-record £72m deal to sign the 24-year-old from Lille, making him the third most expensive signing in Premier League history – behind Paul Pogba (£89m) and Virgil van Dijk (£75m).

The transfer comfortably surpasses the £56m Arsenal spent to bring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the Emirates in January 2018.

Looking to the season ahead, Pepe said it would be “an honour” to line up alongside Arsenal’s French contingent having faced off against the likes of Alexandre Lacazette during their Ligue 1 days.

“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 [Mesut] 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 will also be the fourth Ivory Coast international to represent Arsenal, following in the footsteps of Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Gervinho.

The winger admitted that he’s already sought advice from Toure, one of Arsene Wenger’s first signings for the Gunners.

“Kolo Toure was with us on the [Ivory Coast national] squad as an assistant coach [at the Africa Cup of Nations],” Pepe explained.

“He spoke to me a lot about the very high level, how he got to Arsenal and how you always have to work hard and really graft on a daily basis to try and get right to the very top.”

“Toure, Eboue and Gervinho are the major players from the Ivory Coast,” he added.

“We talk a lot about Gervinho, for example, who played for Lille and ended up at Arsenal, so I am on the same path. They are definitely examples to us young Ivorians and I hope we will continue to follow these examples.”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments