Unai Emery is considering launching an £180million attack on Tottenham this weekend, with the Arsenal manager prepared to start Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe together.
Lacazette did not start against Liverpool last week because of a minor ankle complaint, though Emery experimented at 3-0 down by bringing him off the bench at Anfield.
Now, the Arsenal boss will make a late call on whether to start all three of his big guns when Tottenham visit for the north London derby on Sunday.
Nicolas Pepe is likely to play in his first North London derby on Sunday against Tottenham
Pepe was signed for a club record £72m in the summer, joining an attack that already consisted of £56m Aubameyang and Lacazette, whose fee can rise to £52m.
Elsewhere, Mesut Ozil is back in full training and in contention to appear for the first time this season.
Speaking on Thursday, Emery said: ‘They can start together and they can play also during the match as a three. It depends how we decide our game-plan.
‘I am very optimistic for that situation. But be calm. For example, with Lacazette, he had a problem with his ankle. He’s getting better and feeling better. It’s very positive.
‘With Pepe, he came here later than the others but he is getting and feeling better in each match. Aubameyang is very important for us.’
The deadline for the transfer window in Spain, Italy and France closes this Monday. On Ozil, who was linked with a loan move away, he added: ‘We are not speaking about the possibility he could leave.
Alexandre Lacazette did not start against Liverpool last week because of an ankle complaint
‘This week he is training well. He is progressing physically. He is going to be closer for us and available for Sunday, I think.’
David Luiz was heavily criticised at Anfield last week. First, he gave away a cheap penalty by pulling on Mohamed Salah’s shirt. The Liverpool forward then scored again after leaving the Brazilian for dead out wide.
Emery defended the £8m man from Chelsea as he said critics only focus on what he does wrong, rather than what he does well. ‘It is not easy for him,’ the Spaniard said.
‘The adaption to us has been very quick, but I am very happy with him. His decision is very ambitious to come here and be with us, and he wants to help.
‘We can speak about some fault with one player or another player, but we can also talk about some good decisions and very good actions in each match from one player. With him it’s the same.’
Pepe was signed for £72m, joining an attack that already consisted of £56m Aubameyang