Arsenal are said to be 'leading the chase' for highly rated Lille winger Nicolas Pepe, a player the Gunners have been linked with for several months.

By 90Min
December 18, 2018

Arsenal are said to be 'leading the chase' for highly rated Lille winger Nicolas Pepe, a player the Gunners have been linked with for several months. However, they seemingly face competition and will have to pay a premium price, if they want him in January.

Pepe has managed 12 goals and seven assists in 18 Ligue 1 games this season as Lille fight to return to the Champions League after flirting with relegation a year ago.

And while Lille owner Gerard Lopez has previously hinted that even €100m (£90m) might not be enough to tempt the French club to sell mid-season, the latest gossip from France suggests that the stance has softened and it might now only take half that.

It has been reported by L'Equipe that Lille will negotiate if a buyer comes forward with an opening offer of €50m (£45m). That is a sizeable sum, but Arsenal have previously shown they are willing to spend big if it means getting the right player on board.

The Gunners aren't alone in admiring Pepe, though. The 23-year-old Ivory Coast international has been linked with Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United at various times.

Earlier rumors suggested Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Schalke were all interested in Pepe for around €30m, although they could all be priced out of the transfer.

Arsenal chief Raul Sanllehi has been skeptical of the January transfer window, but the club was able to capture Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang midway through last season, while the injury to Danny Welbeck has arguably left the squad light and could prompt business.

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