The winger, signed from Lille for £72 million, listed a number of players from France and the Ivory Coast as players he wants to emulate
Nicolas Pepe has said he was inspired to join Arsenal to emulate his heroes past a present after sealing a move to North London in a club record deal.
Pepe joined the Gunners for £72 million ($87m) from Lille in a long-anticipated move, becoming the most expensive acquisition by an English club so far in the transfer window.
The 24-year-old winger said it would be an honour to play alongside players he had admired while plying his trade in Ligue 1 as he now moves to a club with a long history of international stars.
“When I knew I was coming to Arsenal, I immediately thought of the French guys who play here,” Pepe, and Ivory Coast international raised in France, told the club’s official website .
“I thought of [Mesut] Ozil, the world champion, [Alexandre] Lacazette, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and many more. Of course, these are players who sprang to mind because I used to watch them when I was at Lille.
“Also, Lacazette used to play for Lyon and so I have had the opportunity to play against him. It will be an honour to play alongside him.”
Pepe was not only influenced by players from his adopted country of France, where he had spent the entirety of his professional career before moving to London.
He joins a list of several Ivorians to play for the Gunners, and says they have also offered advice as to how he might make an impact at the Emirates now that he has secured his long-awaited move.
“Kolo Toure was with [the Ivory Coast] squad as an assistant coach [at the Africa Cup of Nations],” Pepe added .
“He spoke to me a lot about the very high level, how he got to Arsenal and how you always have to work hard and really graft on a daily basis to get right to the very top.
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“Toure, [Emannuel] Eboue and Gervinho are the major players from the Ivory Coast.
“We talk a lot about Gervinho, for example, who played for Lille and ended up at Arsenal, so I am on the same path.
“They are definitely examples to us young Ivorians and I hope we will continue to follow these examples.”