Bengaluru, June 7: Liverpool have initiated contact with Lille over a move to sign winger Nicolas Pepe, according to reports.
The Reds experienced an excellent season last term, becoming the champions of Europe after missing out on the Premier League title by a point. However, there’s always room for improvement and most fans expect them to build further on that this summer.
A sumptuous summer spend a year ago, partly balanced by Philippe Coutinho’s £142million move to Barcelona in January 2018, saw Liverpool spend over £150m on Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri while they also secured a club-record £75m deal for influential centre-back Virgil van Dijk at the same time as Coutinho’s departure.
And now according to reports, the fans can again experience the repeat of such expenditure, as the Reds are believed to have accelerated discussions with Lille to sign Ivorian attacker Nicolas Pépé and have made formal discussions to match the €80m transfer fee demanded by the French club.
Pepe has turned out to be one of the most lethal finishers in Europe attracting huge interest after recording 22 goals and 11 assists for Lille, hitting such high figures from a wide position.
Pepe’s agent confirmed earlier this month that his player is looking for an exit and as per a popular journalist, Jurgen Klopp and co have now started making moves.
However, the Merseysiders can expect a challenge from Premier League sides like Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur for the winger, while other European giants PSG and Bayern Munich have also been linked with a move but as of now it is the Reds who are believed to be the front-runners.
A transfer away from Lille is “fast approaching” for Nicolas Pepe and Liverpool are “very hot” on the player.— Anfield Edition (@AnfieldEdition) June 6, 2019
Liverpool are said to have “moved up a gear” and are very close to matching the €80m fee the French club are demanding for Pepe’s signature. [L’Equipe] pic.twitter.com/GdTj8s1zzJ
Although the Ivory Coast international is likely to command a big fee in the region of £80 million, his goal and assist ratio dictates that right now and any top sides would be ready to offer.
A new face in Liverpool’s attack is expected to arrive to allow more rotation with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, and improving depth in a key area.
The Reds Manager Klopp is apparently content with the squad but with Daniel Sturridge departure, he is keen to sign an attacker to supplement what he already has at Anfield.
And Pepe who is well accustomed to playing attacking football, has the capabilities of playing either side of the wings which surely can be a big asset for Klopp, should he come.