Arsenal have launched an internal investigation into the deal they made to sign Nicolas Pepe last summer, fearing that they overpaid to bring in the Ivorian in for a club-record £72m.
Director and son of the owner, Josh Kroenke, invited supporters of the club to ‘be excited’ prior to the beginning of the 2019/20 season, words he followed up on when Arsenal brought in the forward from Lille amid interest from across Europe.
Pepe’s first season in north London didn’t quite match his lofty price tag, although the 25-year-old did register 18 goal contributions under the three different managers he played for last term.
Now, as per ESPN, the club are investigating the deal they signed off on for Pepe, one which was to be paid in instalments over the next five years. An initial £20m was parted with, with the next chunk of that fee set to be paid this summer.
As part of a wider recruitment overhaul, Arsenal parted with numerous long-serving scouts. They included Francis Cagigao, Brian McDermott and Brian Clark, as well as various other European based employees. With a new strategy in plan, a re-examining of the Pepe deal is taking place to work out their reasoning behind spending such a considerable fee.
There is said to be no regret over that actual signing, just that with finances so tight, there is some surprise as to why the move was sanctioned for the fee in question.
A review of scouting reports and negotiation processes is underway, led by technical director Edu. An overhaul of the structure has seen the club move away from a vast global network of scouts, instead focussing on forging relationships with well-connected agents and data-driven analysis.
The Gunners are staring down the barrel of another tight transfer budget this window, with Edu aiming to ensure the club’s dealings fall within their modest financial structure. In other words, not overspending. Fairly simple stuff.