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Arsenal and Chelsea to battle it out to sign Pepe

Premier League rivals Arsenal and Chelsea are set to go head-to-head to sign FC Porto winger Pepe, according to the Sun.

The 25-year-old Brazilian is also attracting interest from Serie A giants Juventus ahead of the January transfer window.

Arsenal were first linked with a move for Pepe back in the summer, however, his high price tag put off Mikel Arteta from making an official move.

The Gunners opted to sign Fabio Vieira instead from Porto for £34million after the 22-year-old was linked with a move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Vieira has blown hot and cold so far in north London, with an injury issue hampering his progress during the early stages of his career in England.

It appears Arsenal want to raid Porto again in January after renewing their interest in Pepe, but face stiff competition from London rivals Chelsea who are also preparing for a busy winter transfer window.

Graham Potter is expected to be backed in January despite the Blues spending over £270million in Todd Boehly’s first window at the club.

Building for the future

Pepe is a versatile player who can operate on either wing and also as an attacking midfielder. He joined Porto in 2021 from Gremio after helping himself to 20 goals in 86 league appearances.

According to the Sun, Porto are holding out for at least £65million for Pepe, which would trigger his release clause, so Arsenal and Chelsea are going to need to dig deep if they want to get a deal agreed.

His contract with the Dragao will expire in the summer of 2027 which means the club are under no pressure to cash-in on one of emerging talents at the club. The South American has featured in 22 games for Porto this season, netted three goals and registered five assists so far.

Mikel Arteta needs to add more firepower to his squad and Pepe could be viewed as the ideal option as he would provide competition for both Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka.

However, Chelsea are also in dire need of a wide player who will add quality to their attacking areas with the future of Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech uncertain.

However, a player who is yet to make himself a household name by the age of 25 may not warrant such a large fee. The Blues have other areas of the field to fill gaps too, especially in defence.

It’s unclear whether Arsenal or Chelsea will formalise their interest in Pepe but with Juventus also reportedly circling, it’s going to take a huge offer to tempt Porto into a sale.

Read more: Report: Chelsea star wants to re-launch career at Champions League club

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