Arsenal are closing in on the signing of Lille OSC star Nicolas Pépé, after agreeing a gargantuan €80m fee that will be paid in instalments.
It was reported on Thursday that a number of clubs had already reached an agreement to sign Pépé from Lille ahead of the new season, including Premier League rivals Manchester United and Liverpool, as well as Italian outfit Napoli.
Pépé's transfer saga had looked set to continue for some time, but Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano then reported that Arsenal were actually leading the race for his signature, having upped their transfer and contract offer.
That claim has now been verified by renowned Arsenal transfer guru David Ornstein, with an agreement now confirmed to be in place and a deal set to be concluded with the next 48 hours.
Arsenal will pay €80m overall for Pépé's services, but the fee will be spread out over a number of instalments - as the Gunners simply don't have the money to pay a full fee, or anywhere close to it, up front.
The 24-year-old has been offered a five-year contract, and although he hasn't yet signed or agreed to the move, it's likely that he'll turn down Napoli's advances - despite Gli Azzurri's plans to submit a new offer of their own.
It had appeared that Arsenal were turning their attention away from Pépé and instead focusing on trying to sign Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace, but the Eagles are playing hardball and are now rumoured to be listening to offers from Everton and Chelsea.
Throughout the window, it has been suggested that Arsenal would only have around £40m to spend this summer, with recent deals for William Saliba and Dani Ceballos (loan) eating up a big chunk of that reported budget.
But it now looks as if Arsenal are dipping into every possible reserve, after Unai Emery confirmed that he wants to add up to four new players to his current crop of players ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Source : 90min