Lille owner Gerard Lopez has spoken out over the sum that will be required to lure in-demand attacker Nicolas Pepe away from the club this summer.
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 27 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.
Premier League links
As such, the explosive attacker’s stellar form at the Stade Pierre Mauroy has inevitably seen Pepe linked with a number of Europe’s top clubs.
To this point, all of Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, PSG and Bayern Munich have been named as suitors of the Lille standout.
Arsenal were even linked with a big-money swoop for Pepe in January:
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
And, as per the aforementioned update from Lille owner Gerard Lopez this morning, Pepe’s rake of suitors will now be aware of the kind of sum that they will be forced to splash out to secure his signature at the end of the season.
Speaking in an interview with RMC Sport (via Goal), Lopez divulged that a fee of between ‘€50 million and €80 million’ will be demanded by the Ligue 1 outfit’s board, before confirming previous big-money offers from both England and China:
‘[Pepe’s future] does not just depend on the club. It also depends on the player.’
‘He deserves to play at the highest level. We have offers, yes. There are clubs in England. We have had offers worth €50 million. We will not sell for less, we have even refused a €50 million bid.’
‘We had an offer from China worth €80 million with an astronomical salary, but he didn’t want to go.’