Liverpool are now in control of the race to sign Lille’s highly-rated forward Nicolas Pepe, reports claim.
The Reds have joined Premier League rivals Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton in the hunt for the 23-year-old, who has emerged as one of Ligue 1’s most exciting talents.
And according to Le10 Sport, Liverpool have made a formal enquiry about the possibility of signing the Ivorian this summer – which puts them a step ahead of the chasing pack.
Pepe has enjoyed a spectacular breakthrough season at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, netting 19 times and providing 11 assists in 32 games.
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Lille look set to finish second in the French top-flight, thanks largely to the form of Pepe, and the club are already resigned to the prospect of losing him this summer.
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Club president Gerard Lopez recently told Telefoot: “Four or five players will be leaving this summer.
“All clubs are forced to balance their accounts except perhaps one. I would say yes, it is sure he [Pepe] will leave.
“He enters a price range that can no longer be paid. There is a career choice to make for him, I think he will have the choice.”