Manchester United Chasing Nicolas Pepe

Manchester United have entered the talks to sign Nicolas Pepe and now look to be in a favourited suitor over Arsenal and Liverpool who expressed their desire to sign the promising 24-year-old Cote d’Ivoire striker.

Nicolas Pepe of Lille
Nicolas Pepe of Lille during the Ligue 1 match between Lille and Angers on May 18, 2019 in Lille, France. (Photo by Johnny Fidelin/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

According to recent reports, Manchester United have entered the race to sign one of the most in-demand strikers of the summer transfer market, Nicolas Pepe, who has had an excellent 2018/19 season with Lille. There he scored 22 goals, which made him the 2nd best scorer of the French top flight, only trailing the young superstar Kylian Mbappé, who produced an astonishing 33 goals for PSG. By surpassing names such as Neymar, Falcao, Cavani and others, Pepe has made a name for himself and understandably brought a lot of attention upon himself from several clubs all around the globe. As it was reported, both Arsenal and Liverpool expressed their desire in the 24-year-old striker, however, most recent reports suggest it’s Man United who are ahead of their rivals in the race to land the potent striker. Although his price tag is rather high and stands at about €78 million, Man United did not hesitate to enter talks with Lille, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate to add some new quality to the team, in hopes to contest a top spot in EPL next season.

In addition, approaching Lille to sign Pepe, Man United also approached Sporting Lisbon for Bruno Fernandes, which would mean United will need to prepare to spend quite a sum of money for the two additions. This is also the reason why United does not wish to sell their star striker Lukaku to Inter for anything less than €83 million, following a rejected bit of €60 million. Should Man United get the needed funds, we would most likely get to see Pepe continue his career in the Premier League, which would be the first time in his career he would play outside France.

Looking back at how Pepe’s career unfolded, he started off his professional career in Poitiers FC, from where he moved to Angers B and Angers senior team only 2 years later (2015). There he played a total of 47 matches during which he scored only 3 goals and added 2 assists. Following his rather mediocre seasons with Angers, Pepe moved to Orleans on a loan, where he scored 7 goals and added 2 assists in 30 appearances. Once he returned back to Angers, Lille decided to sign him for a mere €10 million, which was arguably one of the best deals the club has ever made, considering how they could.

In his first season with Lille (2016/17) when Pepe scored 3 goals in 33 appearances. In 2017/18 season, Pepe significantly improved and produced a total of 13 goals and 5 assists in 36 appearances, however, that was not even close to how well Pepe played in last season, when he helped his team score 33 goals, with 22 goals and 11 assists to his name. His performance in 2018/19 season alone was enough to establish himself as one of the best strikers in France and one of the hottest player of the transfer market.

While Pepe’s arrival at Old Trafford is highly likely, it will all come down to whether the demands for Lukaku are meet or not, as United currently do not have the needed funds to finance all their planned transfers. Should they not get them, Pepe will most likely move to Arsenal, Liverpool or possibly even Inter if they fail to land Lukaku.

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