As per a report from French outlet Le10Sport, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are leading a host of European giants in the race for Lille standout Nicolas Pepe.
Pepe, a 23-year-old Ivorian winger, has been Ligue 1’s breakout star to this point in the season.
The gifted African has notched 16 goals and 8 assists across 23 league outings for Christophe Galtier’s Lille, proving one of the key contributors to Les Dogues’ surprise charge to second-place in the French top-flight.
Pepe is noted for his turn of pace, ability to beat defenders, eye for a killer pass and, evidently based on his stellar goal return, penchant for finding the net on a consistent basis.
As such, links between Pepe and some of European football’s top clubs have inevitably been forthcoming over recent weeks.
Arsenal were previously named as the leaders in the race for the African dynamo, though the Gunners were priced out of a January swoop:
Arsenal leading chase for Nicolas Pepe but lots of competition emerging. L’Equipe this morning suggest Lille will negotiate in January if a club opens bidding at €50m. But owner has previously stated he won’t sell mid season
— Matt Spiro (@mattspiro) December 17, 2018
Bayern take the lead
But, as per the aforementioned update courtesy of Le10Sport this morning, a new suitor have emerged as the clear front-runners to secure a summer deal for Pepe.
The outfit in question are German powerhouse Bayern Munich.
Le10 report that the Bavarians have ‘intensified contacts’ with Lille over recent weeks, with the board at the Allianz Arena preparing ‘a big offensive’ for Pepe this summer.
The update also adds that all of Arsenal, Manchester City and Barcelona remain interested in the explosive winger’s signature.