Nicolas Pepe may not have lived up to his price tag yet but the Ivorian has already helped Arsenal in a really big way.
The 26-year-old joined the Gunners from Lille for a club-record £72 million in 2019 (BBC). A lot was expected of Pepe and although he has shown flashes of brilliance, he really hasn’t set the stage on fire like we all thought he would.
That really is disappointing but Gabriel Magalhaes has now revealed that the only reason he’s at Arsenal is because of Pepe, who apparently convinced the Brazilian to snub other clubs for us in 2020.
Gabriel Magalhaes: Nicolas Pepe convinced me to join Arsenal
“In the winter (of the 2019-2020 season) before the league stopped, I was already meant to sign for Everton. I underwent my medical, etc…
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“But, it didn’t get done. I had already envisioned myself leaving after that season.
“I spoke with Napoli, Everton once again, but I then chose Arsenal thanks to Nicolas Pepe, who sold the club well to me.”
What an assist!
Pepe and Gabriel joined Arsenal from Lille in 2019 and 2020 respectively and we can safely say that the latter has been the better signing, even though he cost about a third of what the Ivorian did.
Gabriel hit the ground running at Arsenal last season and was our best player in each of his first three months at the Emirates. He ended the season strongly as well and now, he has formed one of the best defensive partnerships in the Premier League alongside Ben White.
Pepe may or may not go on to live up to his price tag in the next two years but the fact that he helped us sign Gabriel, who will be a regular for us in defence for the better part of the next decade, should be viewed as a big positive.