Arsenal are looking increasingly likely to see off strong competition to land Nicolas Pepe, with the Gunners now in advanced talks over the structure of a staggered payment plan for the €80 million (£72m/$89m) Lille winger.
Liverpool, Manchester United, Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain had all been credited with an interest in the Ivory Coast international, who bagged an impressive 23 goals and 12 assists across all competitions in the 2018-19 season.
Arsenal have also been involved in negotiations and that the Gunners are now leading the race to sign the player after talks in the last 48 hours progressed at a rapid pace, with Pepe seemingly preferring a move to the Premier League over Serie A.
Lille president Gerard Lopez admitted on Friday that four “big clubs” had met their €80m valuation of the 24-year-old, leaving the former Angers man with a big decision to make as he plans the next step in his career.
Should Arsenal complete the signing of Pepe, it would mean the club would have to pull out of talks for Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, for whom the Gunners had a bid of £40m ($50m) rejected by the Eagles.