Inter have lodged a bid of £80m for Lille star Nicolas Pepe, as they look to beat both Liverpool and Manchester United to the 24-year-old’s signature.
Pepe propelled himself to stardom after an incredible season in Ligue 1, with a number of European giants thought to be keen on securing a deal for the winger.
According to L’Equipe, Inter are looking to win the race for Pepe with a bid of around £80m, although TF1 state that the bid is actually closer to the £67m mark.
Regardless of the value of the bid, Lille are yet to accept any proposals for Pepe, which could give Liverpool a chance to make their own proposal. Jurgen Klopp is said to have a ‘special liking’ for Pepe, although they are yet to submit a formal bid.
Liverpool are expected to involve themselves in negotiations, whilst La Voix du Nord also add that United are eager to make their own offer as part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans to build an ‘ambitious’ squad for next season.
Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are also named as potential suitors, with the latter expected to step up their interest if Neymar seals a return to Barcelona.
Last season, Pepe racked up 22 goals and 11 assists in 38 Ligue 1 appearances, firing Lille to second in the league table. He finished behind just Kylian Mbappe in the scoring charts, establishing himself as one of Europe’s most exciting forwards.
Liverpool may see Pepe as a perfect option to compete with Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in attack, which perhaps could lead Klopp to return to a 4-2-3-1 formation to incorporate all four. However, most credible reports still maintain that the Reds are unlikely to spend big this window, with Pepe only on the list of long-term targets rather than immediate ones.
United could, however, opt to make Pepe the figurehead of their squad overhaul, with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial strongly linked with moves away from Old Trafford this summer.
The Red Devils are in need of big names to help transform their fortunes, and there are few players who generated more excitement last season than Pepe.