THE PL TRANSFER GAMES
by Sammir Goyall
The 24 years old Ivory Coast striker has been talk of the town for all the right reasons. He had one hell of a season last year with French Club Lille where he scored 22 goals and gave 11 assists helping Lille to finish second in Ligue 1 and qualify for UEFA Champions League after 7 years taking his tally to 47 goals and21 assists in his club career playing in France.
His pace, dribbling and finishing are clearly the main strengths of his game and are what propelled him to his stellar 2018/2019 season. His tremendous ability as an athlete, not just his sheer pace but also an ability to use his body and shield the ball as well as his phenomenal jumping and change of direction make him the apple of the eye for scouts of numerous clubs playing at top level. He played mostly at right wing until ex-coach Marcelo Bielsa suggested him to play as a striker. Pepe possess an innate ability to charge at defenders with his left foot and also maneuvers his way through traffic with that quick left foot as well as with his aforementioned athletic ability. He showcases an astonishing finishing ability along with an incredibly impressive quick snapshot, vital to being a goalscorer in the Premier League where space and defenders are constantly closing in around you.
Many clubs from around the world were interested in signing him this summer. Pepe made it clear that he would like to leave Lille and play in different league. Arsenal have been dreaming of having a envious strike force as their front three to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool for the Premier League title. With Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang at the helm, the North London club have been looking for another player to link up with Lacazette and Aubameyang. Arsenal have made € 50 Million bid this January but Lille rejected it and were hoping to get more money out of clubs due to his explosive form. At the end of July, Lille officially announced that Serie A club SSC Napoli have reached an agreement with Lille for signing Pepe on € 79 Million deal. However, five days later, it was reported that Pepe move to Napoli broke down and he will now join Arsenal on 5 year contract and will earn €6 Million/season as wages. Arsenal offered € 80 Million plus bonuses and have wrapped up the signing swiftly making him a club record signing. Also, Pepe’s transfer to Arsenal was highest paid transfer for an African player previously held by his current teammate Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. Arsenal have certainly signed a massive upgrade on his current attack choices and his expected linkup with Lacazette and Aubameyang will be a thing to watch out for this season.