Reports began surfacing yesterday that Nicolas Pepe (no, not the one you’re thinking of) was a major target for Arsenal this past summer. The Ivory Coast international plays as a winger for French club Lille, and has spent the last few years carving out a reputation for himself as one of the most impactful young wingers in Europe. From his pace to his delivery, the 23-year-old feels like he’s developing and getting better with each and every passing day.
The Catalan giants are reportedly mulling a £35 million assault on the 22-year-old right-back whose future will pretty much depend on Arsenal’s Premier league finish and Arsene Wenger’s decision on whether he will leave his post at the end of the season.
Faced with a prospect of losing one of their most important players this summer, Gunners are believed to have already prepared a contingency plan.
France full-back Djibril Sidibe has snubbed Arsenal to sign a five-year deal for AS Monaco. Arsenal looked set to sign the 23-year-old, but the former Lille defender may well have opted for the promise of regular first-team football and wages reflecting that.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been keen to sound out a long-term replacement for Nacho Monreal, who turns 31 in February, with Kieran Gibbs continuing to be on the periphery, and the versatile Sidibe looked the ideal candidate. Arsenal have also wanted cover at right-back with Mathieu Debuchy available for sale.
According to the Guardians’ Ed Aarons, Arsenal will compete with Chelsea and Southampton for the signature of Lille attacking-midfielder Sofiane Boufal this summer, after the 22-year-old enjoyed a prolific season in the French Ligue 1.
Boufal, a Paris-born Moroccan international, scored 11 league goals in 29 games for his new club, and is expected to be moved on this summer given the lucrative bids being thrown around.
Having only signed from Angers in 2015 for little over £2M, Boufal’s value is likely to be tenfold amid all the interest with Spanish La Liga champions Barcelona entering their hat in the ring.
French media outlet Le 10 Sport has learned that Ligue 1 side Lille have expressed their interest in Arsenal forward Yaya Sanogo, who could again be leaving the Emirates on loan this summer.
Les Dogues recently recruited Herve Renard, one of Europe’s most talented coaches, and they have big ambitions ahead of the 2015/2016 campaign.
With Nolan Roux expected to leave, Lille hope to sign one or two centre forwards in the summer transfer window. And with their top target Jordan Ayew not available for sale, they appear to have turned their attention towards Yaya Sanogo.
According to the Daily Star, Arsenal could be lining up a shock move for former-QPR defensive midfielder Stephane Mbia. The 28-year-old Cameroonian international is a free agent after his contract with the Hoops expirer earlier this summer.
The Hoops were looking to cut their wage bill this summer after years of overspending on inflated wages and transfer fees. Mbia was reportedly on £60,000 a week at Loftus Road and is expected to demand a similar wage package at his next club.
Arsenal’s top transfer target Eden Hazard has stated once more that his time in France is now over, and the attacking midfielder has confirmed that he’s going to move to the Premier League.
After also stating earlier this season that he’s a Premiership fan, the attacking midfielder attracted the interest of Manchester United and Manchester City, but it seems that Arsenal are still in with a chance to land him.
“I think I have done what I want to do in France,” he said.
“I have to move elsewhere and show my qualities and I think I am ready for a new challenge.
Arsenal target Marvin Martin will reject moves to England and Spain to stay in his native France.
The Sochaux midfielder has his heart set on replacing Eden Hazard when the Lille winger leaves the Ligue 1 side in the summer – most probably for the Premier League.
The Gunners and Valencia are interested in Martin, 23, who has made 30 league appearances for the relegation threatened side.
But he has high hopes of securing a move to Lille, with talks between the player and his prospective club already at an advanced stage, according to French newspaper L’Equipe.
The young Belgian genius Eden Hazard has made it clear that his future lies in the Premiership next season, and he has variously touted Arsenal and Tottenham as likely destinations, but now it seems that the Premiership Champions Man United are also considering joining the bidding for the hottest property on the market this summer.
It was reported that Sir Alex Ferguson made a personal visit to watch Hazard last week, but that has now been confirmed by the United coach Rene Meulensteen in an interview with Voetbal International. He said: “The manager wanted to see Hazard by himself. That’s a sign that he thinks he is an interesting player.
I can’t believe this story despite seeing it with my own eyes! Can it be possible that Eden Hazard would prefer to join Tottenham Hotspurs to Arsenal?
Here is what Hazard was quoted as saying to the Belgian TV Channel RTBF:
RTBF: So…The future. So now we need to speak about Tottenham, there is a new rumour which has just appeared on FranceFootball saying you’re on your way to the Spurs. Well you’ve already agreed that you want to go to England at the end of this season.