L’Équipe: Arsenal made €80m proposal to Lille on Thursday for Nicolas Pépé

L’Équipe report in tomorrow’s edition that Premier League side Arsenal on Thursday submitted an €80m bid to Lille Director General Marc Ingla, to be paid in several instalments.

This claim was confirmed to the newspaper on Saturday morning by the player’s entourage and follows TF1 reporting from earlier tonight.

After Inter Milan, Liverpool & Manchester United, this approach from another English club, is not necessarily likely to speed the Nicolas Pépé saga up.

The player’s representative, Samir Khiat, stated on Friday that “PSG was a possibility” for his client, but the newspaper claims that the Ligue 1 champions do not have the financial capabilities required to pull off the deal and are currently concentrating their efforts on signing a defensive midfielder and a central defender.

Only if Neymar departs will the situation look different, should PSG earn a considerable fee for the Brazilian. Even if that happens, new Sporting Director Leonardo would have to identify Pépé as his principal target in this area, something that remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Les Dogues, who wanted this deal to be closed before AFCON, are beginning to grow impatient, but the Ivory Coast’s recent exit has brought us into a new phase of this saga. It has never been a doubt from LOSC’s side that Pépé will be sold this summer, however their intended incomings are somewhat financially dependent on this deal, thus delaying the construction of their squad for the 2019/20 campaign.

Nicolas Pépé and his advisors on their side do not want to make a mistake by choosing his next club incorrectly, and want to take time to think. They intend for this process to begin by Pépé meeting with all of the managers of the clubs that are interested in him for them to outline their intentions for the Ivorian and to explain in what specific role he would be utilised.

His relationship with national team boss Ibrahima Kamara remains tense, after producing a sub-par AFCON tournament on an individual level. Nicolas Pépé is not of the mind to skip steps in his progression and is therefore in the headspace of joining an “intermediary” club before going on to join, a current very big European club, which gives hope to the likes of Inter Milan and Arsenal at this stage.

LOSC won’t wait forever and want to complete most of their business before the end of the month, the sale of Pépé included…


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