Arsenal’s £72million signing of in-demand forward Nicolas Pepe not only smashed the club’s transfer record but also represented a statement of intent.
The Gunners have not won the Premier League since 2004 but will be hopeful the arrival of Pepe can help them bridge the gap between themselves and the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool.
The 24-year-old Ivory Coast international dazzled in Ligue 1 last term, scoring 22 goals in 38 appearances and adding a host of assists as Lille finished second.
Pepe’s capture should ensure Arsenal, who can already call upon the quality of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, are a constant attacking threat.
Welcome to The Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 1, 2019
Aubameyang and Lacazette are indeed two of the names to feature on Arsenal’s list of big-money signings and here we take a look at how those high-profile arrivals have fared.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (from Borussia Dortmund in 2018 for £56m)
The Gabon international has proved an astute signing, even at a significant cost, with 32 goals in his first 49 Premier League matches. The 30-year-old’s speed causes major concern for opponents and he also scored eight goals in the Europa League last term as Arsenal reached the final.
Alexandre Lacazette (from Lyon in 2017 for £46.5m)
Lacazette’s goalscoring ratio is far from bad – he has 27 in 69 Premier League appearances – but Arsenal may have hoped for more from a forward who netted 20 or more Ligue 1 goals in three successive seasons for Lyon. When paired together by Unai Emery, the Frenchman has worked very well with Aubameyang, with the addition of Pepe into the mix sure to bring another dimension to Arsenal’s play.
Mesut Ozil (from Real Madrid in 2013 for £42.4m)
After joining Arsenal to great fanfare, Ozil has often failed to live up to his hefty price tag and has not re-captured the sort of form he displayed on a regular basis with Real Madrid. He has still been effective at times but has struggled to consistently stay fit, making more than 25 Premier League appearances in just two of his five full seasons at the club.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 22, 2018
Shkodran Mustafi (from Valencia in 2016 for a fee in excess of £35m)
Arsenal made a significant investment to lure Mustafi away from Spain, but he has proven a disappointment in London. The 27-year-old has declined significantly in recent years and his error-prone nature does not fill supporters with confidence. According to reports, Arsenal are in talks with several clubs regarding Mustafi’s future. A move away would not exactly come as a surprise.
Granit Xhaka (from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 for £35m)
Still only 26, Xhaka’s best football should be in front of him. The tough-tackling midfielder’s arrival was meant to herald an improvement in Arsenal’s defence but the club have still leaked goals on a regular basis. The jury is still out on this one.
Alexis Sanchez (from Barcelona in 2014 for a reported fee in the region of £35m)
Sanchez was a hit with the Arsenal faithful, scoring 60 goals in 122 Premier League matches. The club’s supporters were disappointed to see him opt for a switch to Manchester United in January 2018 in a swap deal that brought Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Emirates Stadium. Sanchez’s move north has been an unmitigated disaster so far, the striker on an eye-watering pay packet at Old Trafford but responsible for just three Premier League goals.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 24, 2017
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