Robert Pires: Why Arsenal should try and sign 23-year-old
Robert Pires would love to see Arsenal sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille this summer
Robert Pires believes that Nicolas Pepe would be a “fantastic” signing for Arsenal – but he admits that they may struggle to complete a deal to land him this summer.
The north London side are likely to be linked with lots of players in the coming weeks and months as Unai Emery begins to think about bolstering his squad.
Lille winger Pepe is one player who seems to be attracting interest from some of Europe’s top clubs.
There have been various reports linking him with a move away from Lille this summer, and FC Barcelona are potentially interested in signing him, according to reports in Spain.
The 23-year-old winger has been in fine form this season, scoring 16 goals and making eight assists in 26 Ligue 1 games for Lille.
Arsenal legend Pires is clearly a keen admirer of Pepe and he would love to see him move to The Emirates this summer.
But he concedes that Arsenal may find it difficult to land him, given the likely competition from some of Europe’s top clubs for his signature.
Speaking in an interview with bwin, Pires said: “Pepe would be a fantastic signing for Arsenal, but they’re going to have to pay big money to secure him.
“He’s building up a lot of interest as he’s playing so well and lots of clubs will be in for him this summer so I can’t see him going for cheap.
“These are the type of signings Arsenal need to make to propel them back up the table, but I think they will miss their chance if they don’t secure a Champions League spot this season.
“Pepe is a Champions League player and will want to play for a club that’s in the tournament.”
Pires also went to urge the Gunners to sign Denis Suarez on a permanent basis after having landed him on loan from FC Barcelona in January.
He continued: “Arsenal are yet to see Suarez’s full potential and they should look to make the deal permanent as soon as possible.
“He was fantastic at Villarreal and I have full faith he will be able to replicate the same form he showed whilst at the Spanish club, if given the chance.
“He fits the mould of the type of player that Arsenal look for with our style of football.
“He’s excellent at dribbling, has superb vision and his overall technique is top class. He’s spent a lot of time working with [Andres] Iniesta which has improved his game massively and they’re very similar in their styles of play.
“If Arsenal can sign him permanently, I think he can help Arsenal and Emery start to really secure continuous top-four positions again in the Premier League.
“He’s new to the Premier League and to the country so he’ll need time to settle in, but if he’s given the time then he’ll be an excellent signing for Arsenal.”
Arsenal will take on Rennes in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday night.