TF1 have today reported further details relating to Arsenal’s €80m capture of Ivorian attacker Nicolas Pépé from Lille, which is due to be made official imminently.
The outlet claims that Inter Milan, Liverpool and Bayern Munich all positioned themselves for the ex-Angers winger already in January, but LOSC ruled out a mid-season departure as they did not want to hinder their Champions’ League push.
They also affirm that Pépé chose not to move to Bayern Munich or Liverpool because they could not guarantee him playing time. They claim that Manchester United also refused to guarantee him game time and in any event the Red Devils informed relevant parties that they could not afford to make a bid without selling first.
Inter Milan’s €80m proposal was the first formal offer, but the appointment of Antonio Conte saw the club move on to different priorities.
Pépé is said to have principally honed in on Arsenal and Napoli, with both sides offering him consistent playing time, but ultimately chose the Gunners because he felt that their project was more ambitious. He was told that the club intended to return to the Champions’ League immediately and in the medium-term go back to the top of the Premier League.
The conversations he had with Unai Emery, according to the outlet, played a big role in his mind. However perhaps the most critical element was Arsenal’s proven track record of nurturing French and Ligue 1 talent, in the image of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang & Alexandre Lacazette.
TF1 also affirm that the salary proposals were identical from both sides: €8m a year net.