Arsenal looked set to have won the race and put themselves in pole position to sign Lille’s winger Pepe.
The Ivorian move from France to England now seem imminent with a deal agreed for the forward. It is understood that Napoli were also interested in him but Arsenal offered preferable terms.
According to BBC Sports, the Gunners will pay for the 24-year-old via a series of installments that suit their restricted budget for this summer.
An agreement between Arsenal and Pepe’s representatives still needs to be finalised, but the transfer is expected to be completed in the next 24 to 48 hours. Italian side Napoli also met Lille’s asking price, but their proposal was rejected by the player’s camp.
The gunners have been linked with Zaha all summer but with Pepe headed for the emirate, that should signal the end of arsenal interest in him. Arsenal had a bid of £40m for Zaha rejected earlier in the summer after failing to meet Crystal Palace’s £80m evaluation.
Should Pepe join Arsenal in the coming days, he would be their fourth signing after Gabriel Martenelli from Ituano, Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid and William Saliba from Saint Etienne who his heading back to his former club on loan.
Arsenal is not done yet in the transfer window, as they are still trying to acquire the signature of Celtic left back Kieran Tierney. Celtic have rejected two bids from arsenal so far but reports say the gunners are still confident of landing the Scottish before the end of the transfer window.