‘He will not have the enjoyment of the Champions League’: Nicolas Pepe’s former Lille manager surprised by his Arsenal move… and expected him to choose Bayern Munich instead
- Arsenal broke their transfer record by signing Nicolas Pepe for £72m from Lille
- Lille boss Christophe Galtier admitted he was surprised by Bayern Munich snub
- Galtier believed he could have filled void left by Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery
Nicolas Pepe’s former manager admits he was left surprised after the winger elected to join Arsenal instead of Bayern Munich.
The Gunners broke their transfer record this week when they completed the £72million signing of the winger from Lille.
But the French club’s manager Christophe Galtier admitted he was puzzled that Pepe had decided against helping start a Bayern Munich revolution following a clear out of ageing stars this summer, snubbing Champions League football in the process.
Arsenal broke their transfer record by signing Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72million
‘I thought he would join Bayern [Munich] because I knew there was a place, with both [Franck] Ribery and [Arjen] Robben leaving,’ he told InfoSport+.
‘I saw him well in this championship, but hey, apparently, he chose Arsenal.
‘There [in the Premier League] he will surely be in the championship that is the most difficult, the most intense, the most rhythmic. He will also not have the enjoyment of discovering the happiness of the Champions League.’
Lille boss Christophe Galtier admits he was surprised Pepe chose Arsenal over Bayern Munich
Galtier said Pepe could have replaced departing Bayern stars Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery
Pepe could have also been playing in the Champions League this season if he stayed at Lille after scoring 22 goals and making 11 assists to help Lille to second in the French top flight.
Instead he will feature in the Europa League this term, after the Gunners narrowly missed out on a top four place in the Premier League and lost the final of Europe’s secondary competition to Chelsea back in May.
He could make his first appearance for Arsenal on Sunday when they travel to Barcelona for their final pre-season friendly.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have failed in a bid to strengthen their defence with a two-year loan bid of Daniele Rugani from Juventus.
Pepe trains with the Gunners ahead of potentially making his first appearance on Sunday