Arsenal have officially signed Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille – the Gunners have announced.

The club announced the signing saying: “Winger Nicolas Pepe has become our record signing after joining us from Ligue 1 club Lille.

“The 24-year-old Ivory Coast international completed the paperwork on his move on Thursday. He will wear the No.19 shirt.”

So this signing naturally means, Arsenal will not be pursuing Wilfried Zaha despite some rumours claiming the Gunners still hold interest in the Cyrstal Palace winger.

But it looks like the North London club have fallen out of the race and now Everton are being dubbed the favourites to sign the Ivory Coast international.

And according to former Palace boss Ian Holloway, the Gunners might have made a mistake by letting Wilfried Zaha slip.

“I am very surprised that Arsenal rate Nicolas Pepe better than Wilfried Zaha,” Holloway told Goal.

“I certainly don’t. I would be very sad if I don’t ever see Wilfried Zaha playing in the Champions League.

“I feel he is good enough for anyone in the world, including the teams that get there. At the moment Everton can’t get to the Champions League. There is no wrong way to go about getting a move these days. I thought he had his best season ever last year.

“He is starting to add the end product to his performances. He has been handled fantastically well by [Crystal Palace manager and assistant] Roy Hodgson and Ray Lewington. 

“The experience that those two have got, they were smart enough to move him from one of the wide areas to be centre forward.

“If you leave him on his own with your last man when you are dominating the ball then you can be in trouble if Palace win it back. So it is all about end product with him, I always think ‘come on son, you can do that’. I see maturity in his play now.

“I believe at the very, very top level if he plays with a team that can keep the ball away from you, who also win it back very quickly and dominate a game [he’ll do well]. If you give him the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box then he can win games, even for Manchester City.

“He would have to learn what the likes of Pep Guardiola want but I think he would [do well at the top level]. He is good enough for any team in the Premier League now. I may be biased because I have seen him close at hand.

“He is one I would pay to watch. He is trying to shine and I have all the time in the world for him.”

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