Liverpool are claimed to be “well placed” in talks to sign Lille winger Nicolas Pepe, though they face competition from Bayern Munich among other clubs.
Pepe has been a player regularly linked with a move to Merseyside this summer, after an impressive campaign that saw him score 23 goals and lay on 12 assists in 41 games.
The 24-year-old, whose longest run of outings without a goal this season was four, caught the eye with his lightning pace and finishing ability.
On Thursday, French publication L’Equipe claimed Liverpool had “come close” to Lille’s valuation of the Ivory Coast international, suggesting they had bid €80 million (£71.2m) plus bonuses.
Though this could have been dismissed as mere speculation to fill the pages of a newspaper—particularly given they argued he could arrive as a replacement for Mohamed Salah—the ‘Pepe to Anfield’ story could have legs.
According to RMC Sport’s Mohamed Bouhafsi, the Reds are “well placed” to sign the right winger, though negotiations are “not advanced” at this stage.
“Liverpool and Bayern Munich negotiate with Lille and the player,” Bouhafsi wrote on Twitter.
“It is not advanced at the moment because the player wants to think a little more.
“A very important third club will position itself quickly.”
It appears as though Pepe has various criteria for choosing his next club, and in particular his prospective new manager’s plans for his role.
Whether he will join Liverpool remains to be seen, as £71.2 million is a significant fee for a player who would likely compete with Salah and Sadio Mane for a starting berth, but Bouhafsi’s claims are interesting.
That deal moved ahead swiftly, though Pepe’s reluctance to decide too soon will likely thwart that this time around.