Arsenal smash club transfer record to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72m

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Arsenal have completed the signing of Nicolas Pepe from Lille for a club-record £72m.

Despite having a reported budget of £45m, the Gunners splashed the cash to bring in one of Europe's highest-rated young wingers.

It's understood that Arsenal will spread the fee over a set number of years, much like the deal for William Saliba. Pepe has penned a five-year contract.

Arsenal fans are hoping to see the 24-year-old line up in a front three alongside Alexandre Lacazette and last season's Premier League Golden Boot winner, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

With Mesut Ozil behind them in the No.10 role, Arsenal could do some real damage.

Unai Emery recently described Pepe as a "very good player" who can "really improve" his Arsenal squad.

"Pepe is a very good player, and also we are thinking only [about] players who really, really improve the squad," said the Spanish manager.

"We are working in the last few weeks before the season starts with the first match against Newcastle to get the best team with the best players in our squad.

"We are deciding how we can improve. From the beginning we were thinking to sign players but only if we can really improve in this position.

"One centre-back, one full-back and one winger. We are going to do that and are thinking the same [now].

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"Really I want a team better than last year with players who can add to us this season. We have a very good team. [We only want] players who can improve the squad."

Signing Pepe is a big statement from Arsenal, who will be looking to get back into the Champions League next season.

Huge concerns remain about their defence, though, and Emery needs to bring in at least one centre-back before the transfer window closes.

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