Who will sign Lille’s Nicolas Pepe?
Rumours surrounding Nicolas Pepe’s future at Lille have been swirling for more than six months.
With less than three weeks remaining in the Premier League summer window, will Nicolas Pepe end up moving to England?
Pepe is currently on a break after competing at the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast.
Last season, the attacker scored 22 goals in Ligue 1, as well as chipping in with 11 assists.
Man United overtake Liverpool – Sunday Times
Duncan Castles, writing in the Sunday Times, has this weekend suggested that Man United are ahead of Liverpool and Arsenal in the race to sign Pepe.
Turning back the clock just a couple of days, last week L’Equipe reported that Arsenal and Liverpool had lodged bids for Pepe.
Those claims are challenged in the Sunday Times, as readers are told the following:
Manchester United have progressed discussions with Lille over the transfer of Nicolas Pepe. According to a source close to him, United last week advanced a long-standing interest in the forward, who is valued by the French club at more than £70m.
Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool are among the other Premier League sides pursuing Pepe, who has suitors in La Liga and Serie A.
Liverpool are yet to make an offer to Lille for the Ivorian, instead contacting representatives to assess his willingness to join them.
On the links to Serie A, L’Equipe also claimed that Inter Milan tabled their bid to Lille last week.
Could Arsenal end up signing Nicolas Pepe?
That possibility has been floated by Le10Sport this weekend.
The French news outlet are peddling belief that Arsenal could end up winning the race to pen Pepe.
Le10Sport have claimed that Arsenal and Napoli are leading the race for Nicolas Pepe, with both teams having bid €80 million for the Ivorian.
Arsenal’s bid, however, is painted as being more favourable than Napoli’s, as the Italians have offered 60 million up-front and 20 million in add-ons.
The implication is that Arsenal are offering LOSC the full asking price in one lump sum.
— Exclu_Le10Sport (@le10sportexclu) July 20, 2019
Many will wonder about the accuracy of Le10Sport’s report.
It has been confirmed repeatedly this summer that Arsenal only have around 40 million pounds to spend on new recruits.
So how can the Gunners fund the Pepe deal as Le10Sport have outlined? Where’s the cash coming from?
How Romelu Lukaku fits into the Nicolas Pepe transfer
The Sunday times also note how Man United plan to make space for Nicolas Pepe at Old Trafford.
United are hoping to sell Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan, and then use those funds to help pay for Pepe.
Lukaku was once again absent on Saturday as Man United played their third pre-season match of the summer against Inter Milan.
— James Robson (@jamesrobsonES) July 20, 2019
Is Lukaku any closer to switching to Inter Milan?
The BBC have confirmed this weekend that Inter have seen a 54 million pound bid for Lukaku rejected.
That shouldn’t have been a massive surprise to Inter, knowing that Man United paid 75 million pounds when they signed the Belgian from Everton.
— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) July 20, 2019