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Why Nicholas Pepe should be Arsenal’s top summer target

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Unai Emery is clearly aiming to build a mini-dynasty in his own image at Arsenal. Barring injuries, the Spaniard already possesses a solid defence led by skipper Laurent Koscielny. Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka form the fulcrum in the middle of the pitch, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette ensure the goals will continually flow. However, the Gunners don’t enjoy the same luxury on the flanks, Lille’s Nicholas Pepe could help Emery complete his iigsaw.

Since Alexis Sanchez’s departure, Arsenal are yet to find a suitable replacement. Alex Iwobi, Aaron Ramsey, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and even Denis Suarez are all primarily midfielders and despite playing out on the wing, Iwobi more often than not loses the ball during promising attacking moves. After being assigned a wing role, they still find a way to drift inwards, causing overcrowding in the middle so with Emery eyeing an out-and-out winger, Pepe should be top of the list.

Pepe made his breakthrough at French fifth Division side, Pointers. An impressive player with an incredible eye for goal, the Ivorian’s remarkable artistry sprung forth from the onset. He only got nine chances to prove his worth and didn’t disappoint, not only was Pepe expressive and entertaining, but he also grabbed two goals and has since developed into a frightening attacking asset.

At Angers and Lille, his directness and precision has come to the fore, he prefers to use his stamina to work, performing magic with his feet. He’s shown an inert ability to drive defences with the speed of light, bamboozling players before slotting the ball home.

At 6ft tall, Pepe is a dangerous presence in the box, providing a direct threat himself or laying on chances for others to finish, above all, though, he posses a predatory eye for goal. In 32 games across all competitions, the 23-year-old has buried 20 chances and assisted eight for his teammates. Emery will definitely relish the extra firepower from the flank.

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