Nicolas Pépé was the standout player for Lille last term, scoring 22 goals and registering 11 assists in Ligue 1.
The Ivory Coast international played a key role in helping the French club qualify for this season’s Champions League.
He left Lille for Arsenal in the summer and the Gunners paid a club-record fee to acquire his services. Prior to his move to the Emirates, there were several Champions League clubs believed to be keen on landing the forward.
However, the 24-year-old opted to join the north London club, even though his former manager Christophe Galtier believed he’d sign for one of the European giants in the summer.
“For me, this is a choice that can surprise [others] because it is a club that does not play in the Champions League, but it’s also a club that has a lot of ambitions. We play the Europa League; it’s is also a European competition where we have the goal to win.”
“The coach [Unai Emery] is used to this competition. He has already won it with Seville. Last season Arsenal were in the final. The goal is to do better this season, meaning to win this competition.”
Though Arsenal spent heavily to sign him, the African admits the price tag doesn’t bother him much.
“The amount of the transfer is flattering, but I do not think about it. I live it normally. I am still surprised because I come from far away,” he added.
He opened his account against Aston Villa, and now Arsenal and their supporters will be hoping Pépé can help Emery’s side walk away from Old Trafford with three points.
There had been talk about a potential PSG move in the summer, yet it always felt like Pépé’s camp were fishing for interest.