Manchester United have reportedly joined fellow Premier League side Southampton in the chase for Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe.
As per a report from French outlet Telefoot (h/t Manchester Evening News), Premier League giants Manchester United are set to enter the race for Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe.
Manchester United have been on the lookout for a right-sided winger for a while now. The Red Devils’ manager Jose Mourinho has been utilizing the likes of Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard on the right side of the attack. But, neither are natural wide players and end up drifting in-field more often than not, depriving United of width in the final third.
The likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have also been tried by the Portuguese tactician, with both failing to make much of an impact, prompting Manchester United to scour the market for a right winger.
Manchester United had been heavily linked with a move from Croatia’s World Cup star, Eintracht Frankfurt winger Ante Rebic in the summer, while they also made attempts to sign Brazilian international Willian from rivals Chelsea. However, nothing materialized on both ends. And, it seems like they have now turned their attention towards Pepe.
The 23-year-old winger, who plies his trade for Ligue 1 outfit Lille, is also wanted by Manchester United’s Premier League rivals Southampton. In fact, the Saints had an offer worth £12.5 million rejected for Pepe in the summer transfer window, but they are not giving up hopes of signing the attacker.
There has been interest in him from Arsenal as well, with the North Londoners reported to have scouted him recently, while La Liga side Sevilla are also understood to be monitoring the 23-year-old’s situation.
Pepe joined Lille in the summer of 2017 from fellow French club Angers and has grown into an integral part of the team. Having impressed in his debut campaign with 14 goals and 5 assists from 38 appearances, the winger has started the 2018-19 season on a strong note as well, bagging 4 goals and setting up three more in 5 matches.
Capped nine times by the Ivory Coast national team, in which he has managed three strikes, the 23-year-old is known for his pace and dribbling abilities. Able to score and create in equal measure, Pepe has the potential to be Manchester United’s solution to their right-flank woes.
However, the winger still has four years left on his existing deal with Lille, which puts them in a strong negotiating position. Also, the interest in the winger from the likes of Arsenal and Southampton will complicate matters for Manchester United in their pursuit of the Ivorian. But, it remains to be seen if Mourinho’s side will act on the interest in the January transfer window.