Arsenal consider Pepe, Okafor as Mudryk alternatives
Arsenal have been credited with strong interest in Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk as manager Mikel Arteta and newly appointed director of football Edu seek to add a wide attacker to the mix. However, Shakhtar director Darijo Srna recently revealed that the Ukrainian club are looking for a fee of around €100 million for the 21-year-old, comparing him to the likes of Jack Grealish, Antony and Jadon Sancho.
The Gunners are unlikely to pursue a deal for that kind of money, and according to Portuguese outlet Record, they’re considering a swoop for FC Porto star Pepe instead after deciding against making a move for him this summer.
Pepe, 25, played for several clubs in his homeland of Brazil before finally leaving Gremio to join Porto last summer for a reported fee of around £14m. In the 16 months gone since, he’s made a total of 63 appearances for the Portuguese club, mostly as a left-sided midfielder, scoring eight goals and producing 11 assists, and helping his team to the domestic treble consisting of the Primeira Liga title, the Portuguese Cup and the Portuguese Super Cup. Obviously an important player for Sergio Conceicao’s side, Pepe started in all 13 league matches and all six Champions League matches Porto have so far played in 2022/23.
Being extremely versatile, he can play on both attacking flanks, in midfield, and even as a full-back if need be.
Another option, according to football.london, is RB Salzburg’s Noah Okafor.
A product of the FC Basel academy, Okafor is three years younger than Pepe. He left Switzerland to join Salzburg in January 2020, and given the well-documented ability of the Austrian club to recognize talented youngsters (think Sadio Mane, Erling Haaland, Karim Adeyemi, Dominik Szoboszlai, etc.) he’s surely worth a look. A release clause of €30 million is believed to be included in his contract, which runs until the summer of 2024.