Nicolas Pepe is an Ivorian forward who currently plays for Premier League giants Arsenal.
He was born in Mantes-la-Jolie, Pepe started his career originally playing as a goalkeeper for local side Solitaire Paris Est until he become 14 years old.
When Nicola’s father Celestin, is a prison guard, was transferred to Poitiers, the forward has began his professional career as a forward with the Stade Michel-Amand outfit Poitiers FC in the Championnat de France Amateur 2 (fifth tier) in the 2012–13 campaign.
He joined French outfits Anger in the summer of 2013 and spent his first season with the reserves before being loaned out to Orleans for the 2015–16 Championnat National season and helped them to make a promotion from the third division to the second tier of French football.
Nicolas returned to Les Noirs et Blancs playing in Ligue 1 and which reached the Coupe de France Final in 2017.
In the summer of 2017, he put pen on a five-year deal with Lille, for a maximum transfer sum of €10m, after being purchased by head coach Marcelo Bielsa who had scouted him by watching footage of every Ligue 1 game he had played in for Angers, before scouting Pepe in person. Nicolas described the Argentine as “special” and a “great coach”.
The Ivorian started the season playing as a striker after being converted into playing the position under Marcelo, before finishing the season under the new Lille chief Christophe Galtier who used him as a winger due to his technique and speed.
During the entirety of the 2017–18 Ligue 1 season, Pepe was a regular in a Les Dogues team that narrowly avoided relegation, missing only two games and founding back of the net 13 times, including two apiece in away wins at Toulouse and Metz.
In 2019, it was announced that he had joined the Gunners in a club-record sum of £72m (€79m ), eclipsing the previous record of €62m for the Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
He made his debut for Arsenal in a 1–0 away victory against Newcastle United on 11 August, as a substitute for academy graduate Reiss Nelson in the 71st minute.
Nicolas Pepe International career:
Pépé received a call up to the Ivory Coast national team in November 2016 and was unused substitute in the goalless draw away to Morocco in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification. He made his debut in a friendly match against France, at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens.
Pépé was named in Michel Dussuyer’s 23-man team for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Pépé was called up for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, He was absent from their quarter-final penalty shoot around loss by Algeria, having been dropped for Max Alain Gradel due to a lack of form.