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Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti responds to rumours that Arsenal have agreed deal for Nicolas Pepe


Lille star Nicolas Pepe is reportedly set to join Arsenal over Napoli (Picture: Getty)

Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti has responded to rumours that Arsenal have agreed a deal for Nicolas Pepe, insisting he would not be ‘disappointed’ to miss out on the forward.

Widespread reports this weekend claim that Arsenal have won the race to sign Pepe after reaching an agreement with Lille for the 24-year-old attacker in a deal with around €80million (£72m).

Pepe impressed with 22 goals and 11 assists for Lille last season and has been among Europe’s most sought-after players this summer, with Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich also linked in recent weeks.

Though a deal still needs to be wrapped up between Arsenal and Pepe’s representatives, the Gunners are expected to make an official announcement over the winger’s arrival imminently.

It’s understood Napoli were also ready to meet Lille’s asking price for Pepe, but the Ivorian’s camp turned down the Serie A club’s offer.

Asked about the prospect of missing out on Pepe to Arsenal, Napoli manager Ancelotti replied: ‘I’m not disappointed.

‘I don’t like to talk about players of other teams. The market is so long.

‘We are looking. If there are opportunities, we can do it.’

Ancelotti’s Napoli met Lille’s asking price for Pepe (Picture: Getty)

Napoli have also been battling with Arsenal for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, but Ancelotti poured cold water over the recent rumours.

Asked about Napoli’s interest in the Scotland international, Ancelotti replied: ‘He’s a really good player. A Celtic player.

‘We have two good left backs.’

Napoli and Arsenal have been at war of Celtic full-back Kieran Tierney (Picture: Getty)

Unai Emery insists Arsenal are working to sign players ‘who will improve the squad’ amid rumours of Pepe’s imminent arrival.

‘The club is thinking on how we can improve,’ the Spaniard said following Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Lyon at the Emirates Cup.

‘There are different players on the table. Pepe’s a very good player. We only want players who can really, really improve the squad.

‘We want the best players possible for the first game at Newcastle.’

Asked whether Arsenal need a new winger before the end of the transfer window, Emery replied: ‘Again, we really want players who make the squad better than last year.’

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