Arsenal have launched an internal investigation into why so much money was paid for club record signing Nicolas Pepe.
The 25-year-old Ivorian became Arsenals’ most expensive signing when he joined for £72million from French Ligue 1 club Lille last summer.
In his debut season at Arsenal he scored eight goals and provided10 assists.
But according to ESPN while there is believed to be no regret in signing Pepe, Arsenal reckon they overpaid to bring him to the Emirates.
The north London club paid £20m up front, with a commitment to a further £52m over the next five years.
That first instalment is due to be paid this summer and the commitment to owe that extra chunk has led to ‘a review of scouting reports and negotiating process’ to determine why such a huge deal was made.
Pepe was wanted by Europe’s top clubs after scoring 23 goals in 41 appearances in the 2018/19 campaign with Lille.
And the report adds that individuals who were working for rival clubs to try to sign Pepe were stunned by the transfer fee Arsenal eventually paid.
Now, the transfer is being investigated by club officials as part of a recruitment overhaul which saw scouts Francis Cagigao, Brian McDermott and Brian Clark leave north London.
Unai Emery, Arsenal’s manager at the time when Pepe arrived, revealed he wanted to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha instead.
However, Palace were believed to want a large fee paid upfront – and not in instalments – which resulted in Arsenal going for Pepe.
Emery said: “I told them, ‘This is the player I know and want’. I met Zaha and he wanted to come.
“The club decided Pepe was one for the future. I said, ‘Yes, but we need to win now and this lad wins games.’ He beat us on his own.
“It’s also true he was expensive and Palace didn’t want to sell. There were a series of decisions that had repercussions.”