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Chelsea, Arsenal interested in Porto winger Pepe?

Chelsea, Arsenal interested in Porto winger Pepe?

Chelsea and Arsenal are both keeping an eye on Porto and Brazil attacker Pepe, according to a report.

The 25-year-old has been a consistent starter for the Portuguese champions this season, making 21 appearances in all tournaments and contributing two goals and five assists.

Pepe started all six of Porto’s Champions League group stage matches as Sergio Conceicao‘s men finished top of Group B, setting up a last-16 tie with Inter Milan.

The former Gremio youngster demonstrated his versatility by playing as a right-back, right-winger, left-winger and number 10 in Europe, and he has performed similar duties in the Primeira Liga.

Pepe now has a total of eight goals and 11 assists from 63 games for Porto, having joined from Gremio in the summer of 2021, and he signed a new deal with the club until 2027 in October.

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter during EFL Cup defeat at Manchester City on November 9, 2022.© Reuters

Despite his fresh terms, Record – via Sport Witness – claims that Arsenal and Chelsea have both been alerted to Pepe’s performances and have not been put off by his new contract.

However, Pepe is understood to possess a €75m (£64m) release clause in his deal, and Porto would demand that the amount be paid in full to sanction a sale.

As a result, Chelsea and Arsenal have been warned to prepare for a ‘tough’ period of negotiations if they are to drive the price down, and it is unclear if Pepe currently has any desire to leave Porto.

Since arriving in Portugal, the attacker has won one Primeira Liga title, one Taca de Portugal and one Taca da Liga crown, but his success is yet to translate into international opportunities.

Pepe has three goals to boast from six matches for Brazil’s Under-23s, but he remains uncapped at senior level and was not included in Tite‘s squad for the 2022 World Cup.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on November 12, 2022© Reuters

Chelsea could be in the market for a new winger in January if Hakim Ziyech leaves the club, with the out-of-favour Moroccan believed to still be on the radar of AC Milan.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have reportedly marked a new attacker as one of their key goals for the winter window as they aim to maintain a Premier League title charge in the second half of the campaign.

Emile Smith Rowe has missed the majority of the campaign due to a groin injury, leaving Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli to act as Mikel Arteta‘s first-choice options out wide.

A space would open up in Arteta’s attacking ranks if Marquinhos leaves the club on loan, and they have been strongly linked with a move for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykhaylo Mudryk, as well as Barcelona’s Memphis Depay.

Saka and Martinelli – both out of contract in 2024 – are in talks with the club over new deals, and the former could supposedly treble his wages after becoming a crucial player for his boyhood team.

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