Manchester United are reportedly in advanced talks to sign Nicolas Pepe, with the Arsenal target valued at £70 million by Lille.
According to a report by The Times, Manchester United seem to be back in the hunt for Nicolas Pepe. The Red Devils have advanced discussions with Lille over the £70 million-rated Ivorian, who is also being tailed by other Premier League clubs like Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool.
Lille enjoyed a fantastic 2018-19 Ligue 1 campaign, finishing second behind runaway winners PSG, with a creditable 75 points to their name. And, the driving force behind their resurgent run last term was exciting young winger Nicolas Pepe, who has enjoyed a sensational rise to superstardom.
Pepe missed just one game all season and in 41 appearances across all competitions for Les Dogues, he had a fantastic return of 23 goals and 12 assists. Having directly contributed to nearly half the goals that Lille scored in Ligue 1, it is no wonder that he has attracted the interest of some of the best clubs in the world. At present, Manchester United and Arsenal are the leaders in his pursuit.
Manchester United have bolstered their attack this summer by signing Daniel James. But, while the Welsh winger can operate from the right flank, he seems to prefer the left side of the attack, which has been evident in the pre-season campaign.
With the right wing issues still seemingly prevailing, a move for Pepe has been mooted, although the links had gone a bit cold in recent weeks. Manchester United though, have also been facing competition from Arsenal in pursuit of the Ivory Coast international.
Like Manchester United, Arsenal are in need of wingers, albeit for both the flanks, with Unai Emery bereft of natural wide men. Having had to deploy players out of their favoured positions, the North Londoners have been keen to address the issue, with Pepe being seen as a viable target.
A few reports had even suggested that Arsenal had tabled a £72 million bid for Pepe, but those claims have since been debunked by the reliable David Ornstein. And, seeing as they are operating on a modest transfer budget, it is likely that the player’s £70 million price tag will be too steep for the Gunners.
Nevertheless, The Times claim that Arsenal remain in pursuit of the 24-year-old, with Everton and Liverpool hot on his heels as well. But, it is Manchester United who have stepped up their interest in Pepe, having advanced discussions with Lille over a possible summer move.
Sources tell @BBCSport Arsenal have not submitted a bid for Lille forward Nicolas Pepe and do not have the level of money being reported (€80m) to sign the Ivory Coast international this summer #LOSC #AFC
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) July 13, 2019
The report does not add how the talks have progressed, but with less than three weeks remaining for the English transfer window to slam shut, Manchester United need to move fast, if they are to secure the services of the Ivorian winger.
Meanwhile, Lille are open to the idea of selling Pepe and plan to use the proceeds from his sale to invest in the squad. For now, Manchester United seem like the prime candidates to land the young forward. As for Arsenal, it looks like Everton Soares could be their best bet to bolster the wide areas this summer.