Reports from France suggest that Liverpool are clearly interested in hiring the services of Ivorian international Nicolas Pepe.
Last month, renowned journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi exclusively told GFFN that the Reds are in concrete discussions with Lille to secure the signature of the £72million-rated attacker.
More recently, in an interview with RMC Sport, Lille president, Gerard Lopez, confirmed that Liverpool have held talks with the representative of the African player but not with the Ligue 1 club. He stated:
“I know there have been discussions with the player, not with us as a club”
“It is true that there have been discussions with agents”
As per the renowned French outlet’s own information, the 24-year-old is Liverpool’s priority target in the summer transfer window.
In the 2017-18 season, the right winger directly contributed in 18 goals in 36 league appearances for the French club.
On the other hand, in the last campaign, he stepped up big time and directly contributed in 33 goals (22 goals and 11 assists) in 38 league appearances (Transfermarkt).
Bouhafsi praised Pepe and said (GFFN):
“He brings a lot of speed and he is made to play in England, with quick transitions and an exceptional ability to counter-attack”
On the other hand, the Ligue 1 club’s president also heavily praised him and claimed (RMC Sport):
“Nico is a very special player,”
Liverpool’s wide attacking positions:
We have Mohamed Salah as our first choice right winger. The Egyptian superstar has broken several records since moving to Anfield and he was vital in our Champions League winning campaign last term.
On the other hand, we have Shaqiri to cover for Salah. The Swiss international proved to be a decent back-up option in the last campaign. He started 11 league games and was directly involved in 9 goals. Moreover, he provided a crucial assist in the Champions League against Barcelona.
On the left hand side, we have Sadio Mane, who netted 22 goals and won the Premier League Golden Boot award last term (Salah netted 22 times as well).
However, we do not have a natural winger to cover for the Senegalese international. At times, Origi was utilized on the left wing but the Belgian international is naturally an out and out striker.
Competition – update:
Mohamed Bouhafsi (GFFN) claimed that Bayern Munich are interested in signing him this summer, however Gerard Lopez has said that the German club showed interest in the winter transfer window (RMC Sport).
Lopez did claim that Lille have received two proposals before the African Cup of Nations but he did not mention the name of any club. PSG have been linked with the highly rated attacker but when asked if the French champions have made an offer, Lopez replied (RMC Sport):
“Not that I know!”
African Cup of Nations:
In the AFCON, Pepe featured in the first two games against South Africa (won 1-0) and Morocco (lost 0-1) but he was an unused sub in the third group game vs Namibia (won 4-1).
He has neither scored a goal nor provided an assist in the competition as yet and next up, Ivory Coast will collide against Mali in the Round of 16 contest on Monday.