Ivorian forward Nicolas Pepe’s future has took yet another detour after Pep Guardiola and Manchester City have targeted the Lille man after talks elsewhere have stalled.
According to Don Balon, Guardiola has set his sights on last season’s breakthrough player in Ligue 1 and is prepared to pay €60million for his services.
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Pepe was named in the UNFP’s Ligue 1 team of the season after a stellar season which saw him score 22 goals and rack up 11 assists, guiding Lille to Champions League qualification.
Guardiola is keen on bringing Pepe to the Etihad with growing speculation over the future of Leroy Sane who is continuing to be linked with a return to Germany, according to Don Balon.
City’s late entry into the race for Pepe’s signature comes after both Barcelona and Bayern Munich failed to make significant movements in the saga, according to Don Balon, who also mention Liverpool as one of his admirers.
Barcelona were initially interested in Pepe according to the aforementioned Don Balon article, but have switched their attentions to Antoine Griezmann and a return to the Camp Nou for Brazilian superstar Neymar. Whilst Bayern were interested in Pepe, it was Barcelona’s interest that cast doubt in Pepe’s mind, with Barcelona being his preference. As a result, Bayern have now targeted Leroy Sane and look to tempt him to a return to his homeland after growing concerns that his future belongs outside of Manchester City.
Pepe is currently in Egypt representing the Ivory Coast at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and his future will more than likely be resolved at the conclusion of Les Elephants’ participation.
The 24-year-old could be a superb addition to the Premier League, whether it’s at City or Liverpool, with fans of English football sure to enjoy seeing more of this in-form forward in action.
It remains to be seen where he’ll end up, but given that City and Liverpool were a point apart in last season’s title race, his destination, if between those two clubs, could prove pivotal in next season’s title race.