After we reported the latest on Nicolas Pepe yesterday – with a reliable Italian source claiming that the Reds were one of four teams to have agreed a fee with Lille for the winger – a second reliable source have looked into the claim as well.
L’Equipe have now backed up the statement from Italy, stating that Napoli, Arsenal, Inter Milan and the Reds have all agreed a fee of €80 million for the Ivorian. Atletico Madrid are also interested, but need to sell players first in order to be able to afford him.
This is all getting very weird: in England, reliable sources say there’s no chance of a deal being done, while abroad, the reliable reports that it has been agreed keep coming in.
Just because the Reds are prepared to pay the transfer fee does not mean anything is imminent, because of agent issues discussed further here.
It’s also bizarre that Arsenal would be able to offer €80 million when it has been reported that their transfer budget for the whole summer is little more than half that.
Something somewhere is going on – but it’s not clear yet quite what. It could be that the Reds are keeping quiet until it’s completed, or – perhaps more likely – Lille are pushing Reds interest to drive up the price.
Whatever it is, the situation needs to be resolved soon. We’re getting impatient!