Jose Fonte has told TalkSPORT that Arsenal fans are in “for a treat” after the Gunners completed the £72million club-record signing of Nicolas Pepe from Lille OSC.
Pepe, 24, helped Lille qualify for the Champions League and finish in a lofty second place last season as he had a hand in a whopping 35 goals last season – scoring 23 times and laying on 12 assists from out wide.
It is unsurprising, then, that the Ivory Coast international has commanded an enormous figure. Lille were desperate to keep the winger, but were realistic in that Pepe had outgrown the French club despite qualifying for Europe.
Now at Arsenal, where he will not be participating in the Champions League, Pepe is expected to be a key figure. Ex-West Ham and Southampton defender Fonte, now at Lille, commented on Pepe which will excite Arsenal fans.
“If he can reach the same level that he did last year in Lille, which I believe he will, I think Arsenal fans will be very happy,” Fonte said. ” He’s super quick, his left foot is silky.
“His 1v1 is second to none, he finishes really good, he takes penalties and free kicks. He’s a very accomplished player and I think Arsenal fans will be in for a treat.”
TBR’s view – Arsenal fans should be licking their lips with Pepe
A front three of Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe? Any side in Europe would be happy with that, and they certainly stake a claim to have the quickest front three in the continent.
Pepe will score goals and Fonte is right, if he can reach the level he did at Lille, he will be a star. The only concern is that Pepe was the main man at Lille, at Arsenal, he is not.
A couple of early goals or assists and his confidence will be stored permanently. But if he struggles, Pepe may find it difficult to warrant his fee. The chances are, though, that he will be a good signing.