Wednesday Aug 14, 2019. 10:15
Lille president Gerard Lopez says he holds no hard feelings toward Ivory Coast attacker Nicolas Pepe for his move to Premier League giants Arsenal.
The Elephants forward joined the Gunners from the French Ligue 1 side for a club-record €80m, having scored 22 goals in 38 league appearances through 2018/19.
Lopez explained that Pepe wanted the move to secure his future, and ended up having to choose between Arsenal and Serie A side Napoli.
“There were two things he was looking for,” Lopez told Sky Sports.
“Either he was going to play Champions League right away or he was going to be part of something that could play Champions League, but was going to be big, where his impact would not only be in terms of goals, but on the club.
“There were two clubs that had that for him – Napoli and Arsenal. Napoli playing Champions League and Arsenal one of the big clubs in the Premier League.
“He did choose the Premier League and Arsenal because that’s where he wants to leave his mark.”
The winger made his debut for Arsenal in their opening Premier League game against Newcastle United as a second-half substitute on Sunday.
Pepe will hope to make his first start for the Gunners when they host Burnley in London on Saturday 17 August.