Two years on from a £9m bid from Newcastle United, former Rafa Benitez target Nicolas Pepe looks set to complete a whopping £70m move to Arsenal after completing his medical today.
Our interest in the Ivory Coast winger first emerges in January 2017, however it was then claimed that summer that we were in ‘pole position’ to sign the former Angers man.
A £9m bid was submitted, but Pepe (who was 22 at the time) ended up staying in France, signing for Lille instead.
After an impressive 14 goal season during his first year with Lille, the winger went on to bag a stunning 23 goals and 12 assists across their 2018/19 campaign – and he now looks set to seal a £70-75m move to Arsenal as a result.
Another serious case of what might have been for Newcastle United and a story that will leave Mike Ashley seething given his obsession with buying young players in a bid to make big profits.
Ironically, Pepe now looks set to be part of a three-man attack that includes Alexander Lacazette and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal – two other strikers who we tried and failed to sign from Lyon and St Etienne respectively during Graham Carr’s era several years ago.
Let this be a warning to Mike Ashley as we haggle over deals for current Ligue 1 prospects Stanley N’Soki and Allan Saint-Maximin.