Reds ‘meet Pepe’s valuation’ & Milan end Lovren interest – Friday’s Liverpool FC News & Transfer Rumours

We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Friday, as attention turns to the Reds’ pre-season clash with Napoli on Sunday.

Reds ‘Meet Lille’s Pepe Valuation’

joie des joueurs de Lille apres le but de Nicolas Pepe (Losc) FOOTBALL : Lille vs Lyon - Ligue 1 Conforama - 01/12/2018 JBAutissier/Panoramic.

Nicolas Pepe has arguably been the player most strongly linked with Liverpool in this transfer window, following a superb season at Lille.

The Ivorian wide man will cost any potential suitor €80 million (£71.6 million) this summer – a figure Liverpool are reportedly willing to pay.

According to L’Equipe, via Sport Witness, the Reds have an agreement in place with Pepe having agreed the fee, but they are not alone in that respect.

Napoli, Inter Milan and Arsenal are in the same position, while Atletico Madrid and Man United are further back in the race to sign him.

Meanwhile, Lille president Gerard Lopez has backed up the report in an interview with Tuttosport, adding that his future will be sorted next week:

“For Pepe, we have received four acceptable offers from four big clubs.

“Napoli have made a bid for Pepe which satisfies our €80m demand. It’s up to the player now to decide where to go, with the contract offers made by the four clubs.

“Pepe will come back from holiday on Monday and I think he’ll decide in the middle of the week.”

Milan End Lovren Interest

BRADFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 13, 2019: Liverpool's Dejan Lovren during a pre-season friendly match between Bradford City AFC and Liverpool FC at Valley Parade. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dejan Lovren‘s Liverpool future hasn’t looked too secure this summer, with AC Milan continually tipped to make a move for him.

The Croatian has slipped to fourth choice in the centre-back order at Anfield and his injury record makes him more dispensable than ever.

Despite their initial rumoured interest, Milan have now decided to look elsewhere for defensive reinforcements, according to Calciomercato.

Admittedly, they are not exactly a source famed for being reliable!

Lovren staying put at Liverpool is not a bad thing, in terms of squad depth, but he must accept that playing time may now become more sporadic.

If Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez stay fit, it’s difficult to see how the 30-year-old is going to feature prominently.

Clyne Provides Injury Update

Nathaniel Clyne suffered a huge blow after damaging his cruciate ligament during Liverpool’s tour of the United States.

The right-back was set to be a good squad option for Jurgen Klopp in 2019/20, but is now expected to miss around six-months of action.

Taking to Instagram on Friday, Clyne spoke bullishly about the situation, promising to return a stronger player.

“Minor setbacks, major comebacks!

“Thanks for all the kind messages, op went well, now the real hard work starts! Road to recovery, will be back stronger!”

READ > How Nathaniel Clyne’s injury offers chance for Ki-Jana Hoever to serve as Liverpool’s backup right-back

Kruse Has No Reds Regrets

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 30, 2015: Manchester United's Chris Smalling in action against VfL Wolfsburg's Max Kruse during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Max Kruse was a transfer target for Liverpool earlier in the window, with the veteran striker seen as someone who could provide depth and quality.

The German decide not to join up with his compatriot Klopp, however, instead signing for Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

Although the lure of playing for Liverpool is surely great for any player at the moment, Kruse told beIN Sports Turkey that he doesn’t regret not moving to Anfield:

“During the transfer period, I’ve received lots of offers and one of them was Liverpool.

“But I decided to join Fenerbahce because I believe I will be very happy there. I spoke with a lot of players during that period and I am happy about my decision.”

LFC Women’s Continental Cup Opponents Confirmed

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA - Monday, July 22, 2019: Liverpool's manager Vicky Jepson before a friendly match between Liverpool FC Women and Metropolitan Conference All Stars at Jordan Field at the Harvard Stadium on day seven of the club's pre-season tour of America. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Vicky Jepson’s side were drawn in Group A for the domestic competition alongside Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Coventry United, Durham and Sheffield United.

Unlike the Reds, all five of Liverpool’s opponents play their football in the FA Women’s Championship.

The first round of group games are scheduled for September 21/22, two weeks after the Jepson’s side kick off their Super League campaign against Reading, with final dates for each fixture set to be confirmed next week.

The Reds will need to finish in the top two to qualify for the quarter-finals and have a chance of making their way to final on February 29, 2020.

Incredible Praise for Van Dijk

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA - Sunday, July 21, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk after a friendly between Liverpool FC and Sevilla FC at Fenway Park on day six of the club's pre-season tour of America. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The general consensus is that Van Dijk is the world’s best defender, having reached a remarkable level since joining Liverpool in January 2018.

Somebody who cannot speak highly enough of the giant Dutchman is former Reds centre-back Gary Gillespie, who was a key figure in his own right between 1983 and 1991.

Speaking on LFC Later, Gillespie paid Van Dijk an incredible compliment, claiming he is the best defender he has seen:

“Normally it is the players that catch the eye, the players that score the goals, that dribble and beat people, that create opportunities and I think it speaks volumes that he’s even being talked about as winning the Ballon d’Or, the fact he’s a centre-back.

“For me, he’s the best [defender] I’ve seen, absolutely. He’s right up there, outstanding in every department [and] in one-on-one situations, and that’s so key these days, with the way that modern teams play.

“Sometimes you are left in one-on-one situations and you just need to look at his stats last season: I think they were that not one player dribbled past him. I just think that’s phenomenal.”

Van Dijk is the bookies’ favourite to win the Ballon d’Or later this year, which would be a stunning personal honour.

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