Napoli seem to have lost out to Arsenal for Nicolas Pepe, as while Lille sell for €80m, only the Gunners agreed to his agents’ demands.
The situation reached a head this week when Pepe’s agents landed by helicopter in the Napoli pre-season training camp Dimaro.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed he had met them as part of negotiations, while Lille President Gerard Lopez announced the €80m asking price had been met.
However, there was the matter of his representatives and their commission, reported to be €5m each, on top of the €5m per year salary for the player.
According to multiple sources in Italy and England, including BBC Sport, Sky Sport Italia, Calciomercato.com and The Daily Express, Pepe’s agents rejected the Napoli offer and did agree terms with Arsenal.
Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis is a notoriously tough negotiator when it comes to personal terms, including image rights, meaning talks for contracts can go on for weeks.
It’s believed this reticence to pay the commission fees is what allowed Arsenal to leap in front and secure Pepe.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport writer Nicolo' Schira, the Gunners also proposed a salary worth €6m plus bonuses, compared to Napoli's €4.5m plus add-ons.
Arsenal had a transfer budget of €50m, but Lille would seemingly be prepared to accept payment in installments.
A move could now be completed within 24-48 hours, leading Napoli to turn that investment back on to other targets, such as Inter striker Mauro Icardi and Real Madrid outcast James Rodriguez.
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