The Ivorian had a breakthrough season last term as he announced himself to the entirety of Europe, putting up performances that yielded 34 goals and assists and a runner-up finish behind champions Paris Saint-Germain. The humble French side can now enjoy Champions League football and a lot of the credit goes to Pepe.
Though the 24-year-old is no new face in football, he hadn’t received much recognition until last season. Naturally, European giants were keeping an eye on him, and some are actively trying to prize the winger away.
One of the clubs reported to be keen on importing the wideman is United. Maybe it was the unreliability of Jesse Lingard or having Juan Mata play a wide role despite being best playing through the middle, but nevertheless Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in need of a winger. Being one of the best options in Europe right now, it was only natural to aim for the Ivorian international.
Various sources have linked the Red Devils with the mercurial forward. Some of them even went as far as to say the Lille talisman has given a green light to a move to Old Trafford.
However, those whispers failed to last too long as Samir Khiat, Pepe’s agent has publicly refuted the authenticity of such claims. This basically confirms the forward is not quite out of doors of Ligue 1 yet; perfect time for a hijack.
According to latest reports from Football Insider, rivals Arsenal have entered the frame in an attempt to convince the player out of a deal with Solskjaer’s side.
Although the news was exclusively reported by Wayne Veysey, the story seems to be nothing but full of air. Exclusives are usually accurate and reliable, with “usually” being the keyword. But with just a mere minute of analysing the story and situation, it becomes less believable.
First of all, the French side value their star around £70 million, a figure much, much more than the Gunners’ reported £45 million budget. A club that’s reluctant to cough up a mere £5 million extra for Kieran Tierney and couldn’t offer more than £40 million for Wilfried Zaha surely wouldn’t conjure up £70 million out of thin air. Especially with Unai Emery’s primary target Zaha available for a similar sum.
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People surrounding players often link their names to big clubs purposefully to raise their value. It could be a situation very similar to the Everton Soares rumours; sources close to London Colney insist there has been no talks between the club and the Brazilian but Brazilian outlets insist a deal is close to completion.
The popular theory around this is that the mention of the Londoners’ name around the player is to increase is value and put him out in European market. Though it’s pure speculation, that could be the case with Pepe as well.
Nevertheless, neither the Emirates outfit nor the Manchester giants seem to be close to agreeing anything with the Lille star as of now.