French newspaper L’Equipe have claimed that Arsenal and Liverpool have both had £72million bids accepted by Ligue 1 side Lille OSC for winger Nicolas Pepe – but they are not the only ones.
Pepe has sprung onto the radar of Europe’s elite clubs after the 24-year-old scored 23 goals and laid on a further 12 assists in 41 league and cup outings for Lille last term. He was crucial in their second-placed Ligue 1 finish.
The report claims both Liverpool and Arsenal have had £72million bids accepted in principle, with that figure being a club-record move for the Gunners. But Inter Milan and Napoli have also had bids accepted for the Ivorian.
It is also claimed that Manchester United and Atletico Madrid are interested in the former Angers SCO ace, but they need to offload players to bring in funds before they move to sign Pepe this summer.
Pepe has three years remaining on his contract at Lille but it looks increasingly likely that he will move before the deadline on August 8, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United all looking to land his signature.
TBR’s view – Pepe would be unreal for Liverpool and Arsenal
It is a rarity to say that a player is good enough to join any Premier League side. But in Pepe’s case, as he showed last season, he is more than good enough to feature even for champions Manchester City.
His pace, trickery and eye for goal tore apart Ligue 1 last season. He proved he is more than capable of scoring against Champions League opposition, with goals against Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain.
At £72million, he would be one of the first names on the teamsheet at Arsenal. But at Liverpool, he would be first reserve behind Mo Salah or Sadio Mane. It remains to be seen what he decides to do.