Transferred to Arsenal for €80m, Nicolas Pépé has become the most expensive recruit in the Gunners’ history. But the Ivorian also shattered the record for the most expensive African players in history.
In a transfer market where prices are rising at full speed, LOSC has taken full advantage of the situation to make a huge financial impact. Only two years after recruiting Nicolas Pépé in Angers for €10 million, the Northerners managed to make a €70 million profit by selling the Ivorian striker to Arsenal in exchange for €80 million. An exceptional financial operation for both teams (Pepe is the most expensive recruit in the history of the Gunners), but also for the player.
Pepe is indeed the most expensive new African player in history. The former Lille striker is now ahead of the Algerian African Cup of Nations hero Riyad Mahrez, who was transferred to Manchester City last year for €67m. Fennec are closely followed by another player transferred to Arsenal, Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. A top three that confirms a very easy to spot trend in the top 10: English teams love to invest a lot of money on the players of the continent, the cradle of humanity.
Nine of the ten transfers mentioned above were made by Premier League teams. Only the Chinese club Beijin Gouan managed to join this ranking thanks to the transfer of Cedric Bakambu for €40 million (an amount that does not take into account the famous 100% tax imposed on Chinese clubs since Villarreal only collected €40 million). It should be noted, however, that two operations dating from the very early 2000s still have their place in this top 10. These were the departures of Didier Drogba and Michael Essien in Chelsea in 2004 and 2005.