Lille president Gerard Lopez has claimed Liverpool have held discussions with Nicolas Pepe’s representatives but not the club themselves.
The 24-year-old was Ligue 1’s second-highest goalscorer (22) and assist provider (11) last season, with his performances drawing widespread speculation regarding a move away from the French runners-up.
Pepe to Liverpool? Five key things to know…
- Liverpool won the Champions League and finished second in the league last term.
- Jurgen Klopp isn’t expected to spend big this summer, despite being pipped by City.
- But they have been linked with Pepe, who scored 22 Ligue 1 goals during 2018/19.
- Lopez has revealed the Reds have contacted Pepe’s representatives but not Lille.
- He also admitted Liverpool aren’t the only team trying to sign the Ivorian.
Liverpool have been most heavily linked and although Pepe is currently on international duty with Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations, that hasn’t stopped the transfer talk.
Now, Lopez has revealed contact between Liverpool and the player’s representatives.
“I know there have been discussions with the player, not with us as a club,” Lopez told RMC Sport.
“Liverpool have players in those positions and I read that maybe there were players who could leave, or not.
“I am not particularly focused on Liverpool. But it is true that there have been discussions with agents.”
Despite winning the Champions League, Jurgen Klopp’s men once again failed in their quest to win a first domestic league title since 1990, although they did gather 97 points – the third-highest total in Premier League history.
Liverpool are not expected to spend as much in the transfer market this summer as they did during 2018 – the Reds signed Virgil van Dijk (£75m), Alisson (£66.8m) and Naby Keita (£52.75m) across two transfer windows – but if they do wish to sign Pepe, they’ll have to act quickly with Lopez revealing further interest for the winger.
“We had two offers before the Africa Cup of Nations,” Lopez said. “We’ll see after that, my position was to see if we could not do something before it, we had two proposals before it, I had two clubs.
“The agents, with whom we have good relations, have asked us a little time to look at other options. It is not Lille who discusses alone. The player has, of course, the right to have preferences.
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“At the beginning of the Africa Cup of Nations, he said that being in a competition like this and having your mind to something else, it’s complicated.
“It is a big career choice. In his head, there are things going on.
“We agreed to wait until the end of the Africa Cup of Nations.”