Nicolas Pepe says he is convinced that he has made the right decision in choosing to move to Arsenal despite interest from a number of top European clubs including Bayern Munich.
The Gunners confirmed this afternoon that the 24-year-old had become the club’s record signing with the deal bringing him from French side Lille thought to be worth £72 million.
In his first interview with Arsenal.com, Pepe revealed that he’d spent much of the summer deliberating over his next club before finally committing to Unai Emery’s project.
“Being here is very emotional because it has not been easy for me,” he said. “I have come a long way and struggled a lot and so signing for this great club is a big reward.”
Asked about how he came to make his decision, he added: “It was my family and my agents. We talked and thought a lot about it.
“It was at the time of the CAN [Africa Cup of Nations] as well, we thought a lot during, before and after the CAN. It was important to make the right decision and I am convinced that Arsenal is the right choice.”
Arsenal may be in the Europa League but with big names in the squad, Pepe says he’s got much to look forward to.
Asked which players immediately sprung to mind when he thought about the Gunners, he replied: “The French guys who play here. Then I also thought of Özil, the world champions, Lacazette, Aubameyang and many more.
“Of course, these are the players who sprang to mind because I used to watch them when I was at Lille.
“Also, Lacazette used to play for Lyon and so I have had the opportunity to play against him and it will be an honour to play alongside him.”
Pepe met most of his teammates yesterday and will now ramp up his pre-season preparations following a post-AFCON holiday in the States. We suspect Sunday’s match at Camp Nou may come a little too soon for him, but who knows…