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Nicolas Pepe explains future plans amid Arsenal links

13:07 GMT 30/12/2018
NicolasPepe - cropped
The Ivory Coast international has been attracting interest across Europe, but revealed he plans to remain at Lille for the rest of the season

Nicolas Pepe insists he has no intention of leaving Lille during the January transfer window.

Arsenal have been linked with a £72 million ($91.5m) deal for the 23-year-old, who has scored 12 times and supplied five assists over the course of 19 games in the French top flight this season.

The Ivory Coast international is under contract at Stade Pierre-Mauroy until June 2022 and, in and interview with La Voix du Nord, he reported himself to be happy with the current state of affairs.

"To end the season with LOSC, for me that's for sure," Pepe said.

"As the president [Michel Seydoux] said, I decided to finish the season in Lille and, at the end of it, nothing will be done.

"I am under contract until 2022. I have the idea to end this season in Lille and why not [secure] a European place? It would be beautiful."

Lille are second in Ligue 1 after playing 19 games – 13 points shy of runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who have played two fewer matches.

Lyon, Montpellier and Saint-Etienne are immediately below Lille and also have games in hand in a congested battle for the other Champions League qualification places.

Winger Pepe arrived at Lille in June 2017, having started his professional career at Angers in Ligue 2. He helped the western France club to promotion to Ligue 1, playing one season there before Lille decided to splash out €10m (£9m/$11.4m) for his services.

Last season, he scored 13 times in Ligue 1, but has almost surpassed that tally already at the half-way stage of the season.