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Potential Hazard-replacement Nicolas Pépé’s agent confirms ‘discussions with clubs’

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Stoking the flames of a bidding war

Everton v Lille - Algarve Cup Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Nicolas Pépé is set to be one of the most highly coveted names in this summer’s transfer market, with every big team around Europe keeping tabs on the 24-year-old winger setting Ligue 1 on fire and poking around to find a potential deal.

Lille OSC owner Gérard López has already accepted that Pépé will leave this summer, having risen above the level that his team can afford — though the knowledge of a £75m payday will certainly lessen the blow.

“Sure [he’s going to leave]. He’s going to get into a range of prices, wages, etc. that LOSC will not be able to pay anymore. So it’s clear that there’s a career choice for him too, after that, where will he go? We’ll see. We will not talk about a transfer until about mid-May. I think he’ll have a choice, we’ll see.”

-Gérard López; April 16

Practically all teams who could afford to pay such a fee have been linked, including every Premier League top-six club, plus the likes of Bayern, Real, Barcelona, and so on. We all know all the usual suspects. Chelsea’s interest does depend greatly on the transfer ban situation, but assuming it’s suspended, Pépé could be the ready-made Hazard-replacement that all good narratives crave.

Pépé’s representatives are well aware of all this interest as well, and much like a certain other Lille standout seven years ago, Eden Hazard, are more than happy to string them all along and play them against each other.

“We are in discussions with clubs. No decision has been taken. Today, there are no favourites, be it Bayern Munich or another club. Nicolas will not go just anywhere. We have not decided on which league.”

-Samir Khiat; source: Mirror

In 2012, Eden eventually declared that he’s signing for the Champions League winner. How will Pépé choose?

Back in 2017, he said Chelsea would be the dream and the only team in England he’d sign for. Wonder how much his mind has changed in the 24 months since...