Reports in France had claimed late last week that the Reds had made a bid close to Lille’s asking price for 22-goal winger Nicolas Pepe, but more local sources have now explained the real truth behind the stories.
L’Equipe had reported that Pepe was the only player Jurgen Klopp wanted to come in to fill the attacking position left empty by Daniel Sturridge, with Lille wanting more than £70 million for Ligue 1’s top scorer last season. That report even made the bizarre claim that Mo Salah could be sacrificed in order to bring Pepe in, so desperate was Klopp to get the deal over the line.
The latest, however, from local sources who are likely to be closer to the club, is that the strong interest from the Reds has been fabricated in order to drive up the price.
Bayern Munich are among the clubs who genuinely want Pepe this summer, and the Germans are in desperate need of wingers with Franck Ribery having left. Lille appear to be trying to make them up their bid – it has not gone unnoticed by many that with each link to Liverpool, the price-tag has increased by a few million.
Whoever the Reds do want this summer, Michael Edwards has shown in the past that he will not get drawn into any games. At the price Lille want for Pepe, there’s no chance of him signing at Anfield anyway.
This could all be the latest smokescreen, with the Reds pretending not to be interested to drive the price back down again, but we wouldn’t bet on Pepe being in a red shirt next season – unless it’s the one of Bayern Munich.