Pep Guardiola outlines potential £59m Serie A move for Arsenal amid Nicolas Pepe talks – Bailey Keogh
Manchester City have opened the door to Nicolas Pepe’s ideal replacement in Rafael Leao. It looked like the Portuguese star had opted to sign a new deal with his current club AC Milan, but reported interest from City underscores he could be available.
According to Italian outlet Calciomercato, Jorge Mendez has told Milan to wait for an offer from an English club for his client Leao this summer. The Premier League side apparently being Manchester City.
It comes after Arsenal reportedly showed interest earlier in the season as Italian outlet La Repubblica claimed Arsenal had turned their attention to the AC Milan striker for the summer transfer window. It’s a deal Edu could consider revisiting as Arsenal could be short of wing positions for next season.
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There is added incentive for the Gunners to sign him after Leao also recently revealed his admiration for Thierry Henry on social media. The Milan striker posted a surfing emoji referring to Henry’s excellent performance against Real Madrid for Arsenal in the 2006 edition of the Champions League.
The Portuguese striker has 13 goals and seven assists for Milan this season, and would certainly add more quality to Arsenal’s front line. What makes him a more desirable signing is that he can feature on the wing positions or as a lone striker which highlights his versatility.
His best position, however, is the inside forward position on the left side which fits perfectly into Mikel Arteta’s system. Gabriel Martinelli played in a similar game for the Spaniards and thrived for the Gunners.
Pepe’s future is uncertain at the club as, by evening standard, Arsenal will meet the winger and his agent at the end of the season to discuss his future. The winger has two years left on his contract and is expected to leave this summer.
Pepe has featured a lot on the right side for Arsenal which means Leao wouldn’t be a direct replacement for him. However, Martinelli had a lot of success when given a chance on the right side which would open up a place for Leao should Arteta go for a smoother system. Leao’s versatility to also play as a striker also makes him an attractive signing as the Gunners will be short in that position for next season.
According to the Italian media Gazzetta dello Sport , PSG are ready to offer AC Milan £59m to secure the Portuguese international’s services as well. The Parisian club are also ready to pay the youngster £5million a year to join the club, meaning Arsenal have received an indication of what it would take to persuade the winger to join the club. .
The striker would certainly be a great signing for the Gunners. If Edu is to strike a deal for Leao, he now has a clear price on what it would take to bring him to the Emirates Stadium, and Manchester City’s interest highlights doubts over his contract situation at Milan.