London, Nov 22: Arsenal boss Unai Emery is preparing a January move for Ligue 1 sensation Nicolas Pepe as he seeks reinforcement following forward Danny Welbeck's fatal injury.
The English forward who has been impressive this season, scoring five goals already is expected to miss the remainder of the season after dislocating and breaking his ankle against Sporting in the Europa League.
His injury now has vacated a spot in Unai Emery's squad who can operate on either flank or play through the middle as a backup to Aubameyang and Lacazette and fill up the spot former Sevilla manager is said to be looking to dip their toes again in the market in January.
According to reports, Arsenal are targetting Lille sensation Nicolas Pepe who has scored an impressive nine goals and chipped in with five assists for Lille in 14 appearances this term.
Nicolas Pepe scored twice as Ivory Coast earned a 2-2 draw with Togo during the international break...Goal (@goal) March 25, 2018
The Lille winger has impressed in Ligue 1 this season, with nine goals already to his name. 🇨🇮💪 pic.twitter.com/mWz3yEK5ar
The 23-year-old has the versatility to play anywhere in the attacking third and possesses the pace, trickery and eye for goal which add into another dimension to Arsenal's attack.
The Ivory Coast international - who Emery knows all about from his time managing PSG in France, however, won't come cheap as he has a contract with the French side till 2022 and reportedly has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for only around £45million. Arsenal, however, are said to be ready to offer the player only in the region of £27million and will vouch for the player's eagerness to join.
Moreover, Arsenal director of football Raul Sanllehi also recently while talking about January transfer plans proposed about a replacement of Welbeck and dipping into the market which further has added fire to the fuel.
"That is absolutely something unplanned," he said of Welbeck's injury.
"Yes, that makes you consider things. I am not saying that's a green light to go to the market but we have good players in the house also that may get further opportunities like Eddie Nketiah for example.
"We need to see. We are in November so it's a good time to start analysing what options we have in the market. We are not closing the door but it's still not the preferred one.
"The plans were made in the summer. We are happy with how things are going. We are always going to strive to be the best team we can be.
"If there is a very good opportunity, we are definitely going to consider (it), we will see. Danny Welbeck's injury alters, in a way, the views."
However, all of that being said the player is also attracting interests from sides like Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur and should Arsenal somehow lost the top four race for the next season before January, the player might prefer a different destination to secure Europe's biggest cup competition.
Arsenal are currently unbeaten in their last 16 games in all competitions, sitting fifth in the table and will return to action this weekend against Bournemouth.