By 90Min
November 06, 2018

Manchester City, one of a host of clubs to have shown an interest in Lille's star player this season, Nicolas Pépé, have enquired over the availability of the Ivorian forward. 

Having shown signs of promise last season, Pépé's development seems to have accelerated in Ligue 1 this campaign, having scored eight goals and registered seven assists in just 12 matches. Comparatively, Neymar currently has nine goals and five assists in the league.

This impressive form has caught the eye of Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, despite their already imperious attacking options, according to The Times.

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Pépé's scintillating form this season has added to the Ivorian's value, which has reportedly soared to £44m, after Lyon's £26m offer was rejected on the last day of the summer transfer window. 

The Citizens' interest has stemmed from uncertainty over Raheem Sterling's future at the club, following some complicated contract negotiations, as well as Leroy Sané's supposed frustrations with his staggered game time at City

Additionally, the Citizens' academy star, Brahim Díaz, who some would consider the natural replacement should Sterling or Sané leave, is out of contract in the summer and has attracted interest from some of Europe's elite clubs.

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At just 23-years-old, Nicolas Pépé fits the profile of player Manchester City tend to gravitate towards. His versatility, which allows him to play anywhere along the forward line, will also be of note to the reigning Premier League champions with Sergio Agüero slowly approaching the twilight of his career. 

Pépé's Lille teammate, Jose Fonte, firmly believes that the Ivorian can play at the highest level. He beamed: “He can reach the highest level, he could play for a Real Madrid, a Barcelona – any team.

“He has to continue to want to learn, to have his feet on the ground, continue to work and progress every day. That’s the only way he can reach and maintain a high standard of play. But it’s clear he’s got the talent. 

"He must continue to improve certain aspects of his game, such as his defensive work and tactical side, because going forward he’s very strong. But there’s another, defensive, aspect of the game."

Should the Ivorian continue on his current trajectory this season, it seems somewhat inevitable that the forward will look to leave Lille for pastures new in January or the summer. 

Outside of transfer news, Manchester City next face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League before the mouth-watering Manchester derby on Sunday, as the Citizens look to get one over on their bitter rivals. 

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