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Arsenal begin ‘internal investigation’ into Nicolas Pepe’s record £72million transfer



Arsenal paid a club record fee for the Ivory Coast international when they signed him from Lille last summer, and the deal has prompted the Gunners to review their approach.

Arsenal are reportedly using Nicolas Pepe’s club record £72million arrival last summer as the principle subject of an internal investigation over their transfer business.

The Gunners are determined to improve their business acumen in the transfer market having fallen out of contention for the top four places in the Premier League.

They remain pleased with the work being done by Mikel Arteta since his appointment as manager in December, with the FA Cup now added as a sign of the impact being made by the club’s former captain.

In addition to that, the experienced Brazil international Willian has now joined the Gunners on a free transfer after he left Chelsea.

However, ESPN report that it is the Pepe deal that is still most interesting to club chiefs as they look to try and determine how and why such a fee ended up being paid for the 25-year-old.

The Gunners paid Lille an initial £20million for Pepe last summer, with the remaining £52million of the deal being due over the next five years, leaving Arsenal liable for a large cash outlay in each of the next five summer transfer windows.

ESPN claim that other clubs who were interested in Pepe were stunned when they discovered how much the Gunners were paying for him, and swiftly withdrew any interest on the basis that they weren’t willing to match them.

Technical director Edu posed with the new signing at his unveiling, but he is said to have not had much say in the signing having only just arrived at the club himself.

Pepe’s performances aren’t said to be part of the review into his signing.

Although somewhat inconsistent, he eventually managed eight goals and 10 assists in all competitions in his first season in English football.

The Gunners are committed to a review of all their off-field operations at present, a process which recently led to the departure of a host of scouts including the renowned talent-spotter Francis Cagigao and the former Gunners midfielder and Reading and Leeds manager Brian McDermott.

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