Arsenal sent scouts to watch an AC Milan star on Saturday amid growing fears they are set to miss out on top target Nicolas Pepe.
Lille forward Pepe has been strongly tipped to move to one of Europe’s big hitters, with Arsenal said to be leading the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG for his signature.
However, reports over the weekend claimed Bayern were now the favourites to land the Ivorian star in a €60m package that may even put the Bundesliga side’s efforts to sign Callum Hudson-Odoi on the backburner.
The news will come as a major blow to Arsenal, who had placed the 23-year-old at the very top of their summer wishlist after watching the player on numerous occasions over the season.
Lille coach Christophe Galtier had even hinted last week that it was highly likely the talented forward would move on in the summer, saying: “It’s difficult to keep these type of players in out league. When the biggest clubs in Europe call you, it’s really complicated.
“If Nicolas keeps going like this and improves his statistics by the end of the season, he will be on the shortlist of all of Europe’s big clubs.
“The player’s desire is also important. I am sure that, if the moment comes, everything will be very transparent. We will all try to find the best solution possible.”
With Arsenal now seemingly having to look elsewhere, il Gazzetta dello Sport’s Nicolo Schira has claimed the Gunners made a check on second choice target Suso on Saturday night.
The 25-year-old former Liverpool man, although without a goal since January, has become a key player for Milan in recent seasons and will have been impressed with his performance as the Rossonneri recorded a 2-1 win over Chievo.
Suso has a €40m exit clause in his contract – money that is unlikely to deter Arsenal from making a move should they follow up their interest – and while Milan hope to get the Spaniard to renew his deal, they are reported to be growing increasingly anxious Suso could be poached away when the transfer window reopens.
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