Arsenal makes Nicolas Pepe Africa’s highest-paid footballer
Nicolas Pepe became Africa’s most expensive footballer on Thursday after the Cote D’Ivoire winger completed his blockbuster move from French club Lille to Premier League club Arsenal.
The deal is worth a reported $87 million and is seen as a major coup for Arsenal. Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Napoli were among the other major European clubs pursuing Pepe.
Lille manager Christophe Galtier has no doubts Pepe will prove a big hit at Arsenal as the north London club try to return to the Champions League themselves.
“He amazes me, he amazes us,” Galtier said in February, “He’s certain to become a world-class player because he knows how to do everything.”
Pepe was one of only two players with 20-plus goals and 10-plus assists in the top five European Leagues last season, alongside Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
He carried to a surprising second-place finish in France last season with 22 goals and 11 assists but several football coaches and team GM’s say there is still so much room for him to improve, especially considering he’s really only had three seasons of top-flight football.
With the addition of Pepe, Brazilian winger Gabriel Martinelli, midfielder Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid and centre back William Saliba, Arsenal are expected to make a serious run at the Premier League title.