‘It was a decision that might surprise people… but it is a club with a lot of ambition’: Nicolas Pepe admits Arsenal’s lack of Champions League football saw critics question his £72m summer switch

Arsenal’s club-record signing Nicolas Pepe admitted his move to the Emirates left some people surprised given the club cannot offer him Champions League football this season.  

Pepe was a revelation at LOSC Lille last season and helped ensure the northern French club qualified for Europe’s premier club competition before moving to Arsenal in a £72million move. 

Unai Emery’s side had to settle for the Europa League but in an interview with Canal+ Pepe looked to clear up suggestions he made a backwards step in joining.   

Nicolas Pepe admitted his decision to join Arsenal from LOSC Lille left many people surprised

Nicolas Pepe admitted his decision to join Arsenal from LOSC Lille left many people surprised

‘He (Lille boss Christophe Galtier) imagined me at Bayern,’ Pepe said. 

‘In terms of what he said, for me it was a decision that might surprise people, because it is not a club that is in the Champions’ League, but it is also a club with a lot of ambition. We are playing the Europa League which is still a European competition. We want to win it. 

‘The coach is used to this competition, he has already won it with Sevilla, last year they were in the final. The aim is to do better and therefore win this competition.’  

Pepe became the club's record signing at £72m but the club cannot offer Champions League

Pepe became the club’s record signing at £72m but the club cannot offer Champions League

Pepe is set for a starting role on Monday night as Emery’s squad make the trip north to take on Manchester United.  

Having struck from the penalty spot against Aston Villa, Pepe has opened his account with his new club and will look to add to his goal tally at Old Trafford under the lights. 

Arsenal have not secured a league win at Old Trafford since 2006 but will feel given United’s current plight and difficulties, they may not get a better opportunity than the one they have on Monday.  

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