Nigeria

Arsenal open investigation into £72m club paid for Nicolas Pepe

Arsenal has opened an internal investigation to determine if they overpaid in the £72m club-record signing of Nicolas Pepe, ESPN reports.

It is believed that part of this, had led to the dismissal of a number of scouts including Francis Cagigao, Brian McDermott and Brian Clark.

Pepe arrived from Lille last summer, despite the then manager, Unai Emery preferring to sign Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace.

Although he endured an inconsistent debut at the Emirates, Pepe finished the season with eight goals and 10 assists in all competitions.

There is said to be no sense of regret at signing the 25-year-old, but many people within the game were surprised at the size of the fee Arsenal paid to Lille, especially with how tight finances are with the Gunners.

Arsenal paid £20m upfront and will spread the £52m balance over the next five years, the first installment of which is due this summer. This has led a review of the scouting reports and negotiating process which led to such a big deal being sanctioned.

Technical director, Edu, arrived at the club three weeks before Pepe signed, but the bulk of the work on the transfer had already been done.

Edu has begun an overhaul of Arsenal’s recruitment at all levels, now favouring data-driven analysis and relationships with agents over a global network of scouts.

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