Lille’s president, Gerard Lopez, has admitted that Nicolas Pépé’s entourage have a “favourite destination” for the in-demand, 23-goal attacker, in comments reported by L’Equipe via Inside Futbol.
“We know what the offers are,” Lopez admitted.
“I also wanted to close the transfer before the Africa Cup of nations. At the request of his entourage, we waited a little and Nico told us that he wants to focus on the tournament.
“He also wants to talk to the coaches but I am not worried. We will look at the facts.”
“His entourage have a favourite destination and that in itself is not a problem.
“The discussions are with prestigious clubs where he will be happy but everyone has the right to have a preference.”
Reported Reds target Pépé looks set to depart the Ligue 1 side this summer and reports in France suggest they are expecting a fee in the region of €80 million.
Although claims in England (particularly from reliable source Melissa Reddy) have sought to distance the Reds from any notion of landing the Ivory Coast winger, there are still rumours of Jürgen Klopp’s interest in the 24-year-old.
#LFC call info they’ve had talks with Lille over Nicolas Pepe “pure lies.”
No meetings/discussions of any sort have taken place. Michael Edwards personally got in touch with Lille manager Christophe Galtier earlier this month to say there’s “zero interest”https://t.co/azMX3Qru1y
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) June 25, 2019
As well purported interest from Anfield, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan, and Atlético Madrid have also shown apparent concrete interest, with L’Equipe suggesting bids have already been lodged for Pépé.
Meanwhile, Robin Bairner has suggested that the Pépé’s preference is for a move to PSG.
Nicolas Pepe’s preference is to move to #PSG this summer, according to Lille president Gerard Lopez, who confirms Youssouf Kone will go to Lyon and Adama Soumaoro will make a Premier League move in L’Equipe.
— Robin Bairner (@RBairner) July 3, 2019
Lopez’s comments demonstrate that Lille are keen to bide their time before selling to the right bidder; he claims that he wanted to complete a deal before the Africa Cup of Nations kicked off, but was convinced to wait until it concludes and the bequest of Pépé’s team.
Pépé’s Ivory Coast are through to the last 16 of the tournament and will meet Mali in the knockout stages.
We’ll have to wait and see if the Reds are possibly the “favourite destination” mentioned in Lopez’s admission once AFCON comes to a close later on in July.