Nicolas Pepe Would Be Breath Of Fresh Air At Arsenal

Once again Arsenal have been heavily linked with Lille OSC forward Nicolas Pepe.

The twenty-three year old has been one of the stars in Ligue 1 this season and there’s no doubt that The Gunners could be doing with more attacking threats in their squad.

It looks like Danny Welbeck is going to miss the rest of the season due to the injury he suffered in the 0-0 draw with Sporting Lisbon in midweek. So that means Arsenal are going to be an attacker down.

You then also have to think that Gunners boss Unai Emery will want a player that is especially strong on the right wing, plus a star that would be available to play in Europe.

For me, Pepe ticks all the boxes and more!

Nicolas has spent all of the current campaign out on the right flank and he has excelled out there. He’s Les Dogues leading scorer so far this term with his eight league strikes. He is also on hand to create for teammates and has five assists to his name already this season. Unlike many a winger, Pepe has strong awareness of what’s around him and that usually means he makes the right decisions when he enters the box. He can take the effort himself and he can also pick out a lovely through ball for another hitman.

Being predominantly left-footed, the wide-man loves cutting inside and that causes endless amounts of confusion in the final third for opposition defences. Nicolas’ close control is also strong and that sees him running directly at opponents, then dribbling beyond them.

The right winger is deceptively strong, so can withstand some stiff challenges, and he also has the pace to be extremely effective in counter attack situations.

The Ivorian had a very decent season last term, even though Lille didn’t, but he’s stepped it up a few gears this year and has looked sensational. Even in his side’s loss to the mighty PSG, the young forward was a big threat. He stuck away a penalty, had five successful dribbles (more than Kylian Mbappe) and Pepe was also good in possession.

His stats this season include; taking on average 4.2 shots per game, making around 2 key passes per French top flight encounter and he has a 78% passing success rate.

On the international stage, Nicolas has scored three times in eight caps. He would also be available to join The Gunners European adventure this season, if he were to sign in January.

The biggest issue could be convincing Les Dogues to sell their best talent. Lille manager Christophe Galtier stated the club aren’t interested in doing a deal this year:

“Nicolas has become an intransferable player. I know that the president wants to keep him all season, and Nicolas also wants to stay for the full season.”

I believe that signing Nicolas Pepe would give Arsenal another boost. They’ve improved greatly under Emery but at times they still look a bit slow in the transition, especially on the right wing. Pepe would be more direct than anyone that’s currently filling in Arsenal’s right flank.

The Gunners have a rich history of bringing in top young talent from Ligue 1 and they’d be doing that again if they were to sign live-wire Pepe.

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