Liverpool and Everton have reportedly joined the race for Angers winger Nicolas Pepe, who has been heavily linked to Newcastle
French publication L’Equipe have claimed that Newcastle are now set to face competition in their pursuit of Angers winger Nicolas Pepe. Rafa Benitez has been eyeing additions to his squad to aid Newcastle’s promotion bid, but has now been joined by his former club Liverpool and their local rivals Everton in the hunt for the Ligue 1 ace.
Born in the western suburbs of Paris, Nicolas Pepe has instead opted to represent Ivory Coast internationally. The player has come through the academy ranks at SCO Angers, with this season serving as the 21-year-old’s breakout season in Ligue 1.
While his return of 2 goals and 1 assist in 18 Ligue 1 outings paint a mediocre picture, Nicolas has been heavily praised for his playing style and ability to influence the game in more than 1 way.
— Actu Foot (@ActuFoot_) January 12, 2017
The 21-year-old’s displays have caught a lot of attention with Ligue 1 club Olympique Marseille looking towards the player. But, it is Newcastle who have been eyeing a deal for the youngster and were believed to be in prime position to make a move for the player.
Rafa Benitez is looking to add options to his squad to bolster their bid for a promotion back to the top flight of English football and has reportedly marked the 21-year-old as an able and valuable addition to their squad.
But now, Liverpool and Everton have joined the race for Nicolas Pepe. Everton have just agreed a deal which sees Gerard Deulofeu move to AC Milan and Ronald Koeman is looking to bolster his wide options.
For Liverpool, though, who have abundance of options available, Pepe remains a long-term option for Klopp and one for the future. The report does iterate that a deal could be reached for the player for a fee around the €10 million mark, a fee neither of the interested parties would have trouble in shelving out in return for the player’s services.
If the player does indeed desire a move away from SCO Angers, Newcastle and Everton present better chances of securing regular first-team footbal, with Rafa Benitez’s team perhaps a slightly better proposition in terms of potential first-team action.
But while Liverpool do not present the best club in terms of the prospect of first-team football, Klopp has shown he isn’t afraid to deploy youngsters, if he sees the player as deserving of a place in the first-team setup at Anfield.
The ideal position would be to stay with SCO Angers and help the very club wherein he went through his early paces in their relegation battle before moving. But, big clubs don’t come knocking too often and it would be intriguing to see what Nicolas ends up choosing.