Arsenal Should Be Keen On Lille’s Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal are one of many clubs across Europe that are reportedly interested in Lille OSC whizkid Nicolas Pepe.

The Ivory Coast international has hit the ground running this term; scoring four goals and creating three assists in his opening five Ligue 1 encounters.

Last term (in his debut year at Lille) Pepe struck thirteen goals and had three assists to his name, not at all bad when you consider the disappointing campaign that Les Dogues had in the French top flight in 2017-18.

Things have certainly perked up for the club this season and Nicolas has been at the heart of all that’s good with the former Ligue 1 winners. If he’s not scoring then he’s assisting and if he’s not assisting then he’s the one that sets-up the player that gets the final assist.

Pepe is a left footed right winger, as you can imagine that means he has a liking for cutting inside. He possesses good close control of the ball, likes a dribble, is strong enough to hold off opponents and has the pace to take him away from defenders too.

The twenty-three year old has good awareness of what’s going on around him, meaning he’ll usually make the right decisions when it comes to passing or shooting when the chance arises. Many a winger just get their head down and head to the byline before crossing into the box without really looking up, whereas Pepe has the instinct to look up and his ability to cut inside from deeper positions makes it difficult for defenders trying to mark him.

The talented attacker is often composed in front of goal; he’s keen on coming in and finishing his chances calmly with a side footed effort.

In Lille’s recent win over Amiens, Nicolas grabbed himself a hatttrick which included two penalty strikes. This again shows you the self confidence the wide-man has in his own ability and his composure in front of goal. Tellingly, the Ivorian also won both penalties too.

The Gunners still seem a bit slow at times especially when transitioning from defending to attacking positions. Having the speed and trickery of Pepe on the right flank could be a great outlet that get’s Unai Emery’s men into the final third quicker than they’re managing at the moment. Nicolas is very direct and he’s always looking to break into the box and seems determined to create as many chances as possible, for himself or his teammates.

Lille have a rich history of developing and finding exciting attacking stars; with the likes of Peter Odemwinge, Gervinho and of course Eden Hazard all making the grade at Les Dogues. It seems like Nicolas Pepe is on course in joining those guys in shining for Lille and having a bright future at a top team elsewhere in Europe.

He might still be a bit raw but his hunger to succeed and his ability is unquestionable. Talk is that Manchester United and Barcelona are also tracking the player. That could see his potential fee rise, that will continue to happen if he maintains his current fine form.

In my opinion, Arsenal should act quickly and try and tie the player down. Maybe they could do a deal in January and allow the Ivorian to stay on at Lille until the end of current season and then have Pepe raring to go come next August.

One Response to “Arsenal Should Be Keen On Lille’s Nicolas Pepe”

  1. […] back in September of last year I wrote a blog saying that Arsenal should be targeting Pepe and do all they could to bring him to the […]

Leave a Reply