Manchester United has stepped up its pursuit of Lille's Nicolas Pepe, as it continues discussions with the French club over a possible transfer.

By 90Min
July 21, 2019

Manchester United has stepped up its pursuit of Lille's Nicolas Pepe, as it continues discussions with the French club over a possible transfer.

It is believed the Ligue 1 side value the Ivorian, who has attracted the attention of a number of Europe's biggest clubs, at more than £70m (approximately $87m) and as reported by The Times, a source close to the player has confirmed United has recently followed up on its interest and progressed discussions with Lille to sanction a permanent deal.

The Red Devils are understood to have been long-term admirers of the 24-year-old, who scored 22 goals to help fire Lille to second place in the league and a Champions League spot for the 2019/20 season.

If a deal to United is to go ahead, it will need to fend off a host of rival bidders, as the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal as well as clubs from La Liga and Serie A have all shown an interest.

Surprisingly, Lille's president has been open about the club's intention to sell the Ivory Coast forward, as he looks to generate funds to reinvest in the squad.

Pepe, who was named in last season's Ligue 1 team of the year, still has three years remaining on his contract and a bid of over $87m would be necessary to secure the forward's services.

The Manchester club hopes to fund this move with the sale of Romelu Lukaku, who has been the subject of major interest from Serie A giants Inter.

The Belgian striker did not play for United in its pre-season victory over the Serie A club on Saturday, which has only fuelled speculation about his potential departure to Italy. As of yet the San Siro club has not met United's asking price, which is understood to be in the region of $98 - matching what it paid Everton for his servcies back in 2017.

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