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Lille president confirms Liverpool & Nicolas Pepe talks

Nicolas Pepe
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Lille president Gerard Lopez confirmed that Liverpool have held talks with Nicolas Pepe over a summer move.

Pepe is set to be one of the biggest sagas of the transfer window following a breakthrough campaign at Lille.

The 24-year-old bagged a total of 23 goals and 11 assists in 38 Ligue 1 games to help Lille rise from a 17th-place finish in the 2017/18 season to a runners-up spot last term.

Only Kylian Mbappe, in fact, outscored Pepe in the Ligue 1 scoring charts with an incredible 33 goals in just 29 games.

Therefore, clubs from all Europe have been queuing for the Ivory Coast international in the last few months. Among them are Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

But it appears Liverpool are the favourites after Lopez confirmed the Champions League winners have spoken to Pepe. Although talks with Lille over a transfer are yet to begin.

“I know there have been discussions with the player, not with us as a club,” he told RMC Sport.

“Liverpool have players in those positions and I read that maybe there were players who leave, or not.

“I am not particularly focused on Liverpool, but it is true that there have been discussions with agents.”

Pepe is under contract at Lille until June 2022 and has a market value of €65m placed on his head.

For now, though, the winger’s focus lies with the Ivory Coast’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign this summer. Currently, the Elephants are preparing for a last-16 clash with Mali on Monday after finishing second in Group D.

Once the AFCON has ended, however, Pepe will have to make a decision over his future with Lopez confirming that there are already two offers on the table for him.

FARO, PORTUGAL - JULY 20: LOSC Lille forward Nicolas Pepe from Ivory Coast (L) tries to escape FC Porto defender Alex Telles from Brazil (R) during the match between FC Porto v LOSC Lille for Algarve Football Cup 2018 at Estadio do Algarve on July 20, 2018 in Faro, Portugal. (Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)
FARO, PORTUGAL – JULY 20: LOSC Lille forward Nicolas Pepe.