By 90Min
October 30, 2019

Nicolas Pepe didn’t move to Liverpool this summer after claims suggest he was only a back-up option should Mohamed Salah have left Anfield.

The Ivorian sparked interest from Liverpool while playing for Lille, but the Reds decided not to make a bid after Salah remained on Merseyside for another season.

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Transfer expert Duncan Castles claims the Reds were purely monitoring Pepe in case of a Salah departure, which didn’t go down too well with Pepe's former team Lille or his agents.

“We know that Liverpool were pursuing a replacement striker of a similar type in the last transfer window,” Castles told Reach Plc’s transfer window podcast, as quoted by the Daily Star.

“We know that there was contact made with Nicolas Pepe’s agent to sound him out about the possibility of coming to Liverpool.

“There was no bid made to Lille but the understanding of both Pepe’s representatives and Lille was that Liverpool were pursuing this in case they needed to buy a replacement.

“The ‘in case’ they were worried about was if a significant offer came in for Mohamed Salah which Salah chose to pursue and then a decision would have to be made over whether they allow the player to go.

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“[They could have] cashed in with a huge profit on transfer fees which is something they’ve clearly done in the past with someone like Philippe Coutinho, and bring in a player they feel could achieve the same in that area.”

Pepe was later bought by Arsenal for a record fee of £72m and has since had a sluggish start to the Premier League, creating just two assists and netting in one goal for the Gunners.

However, the Ivorian recently netted in two free-kicks in his game against Vitoria in the Europa League, earning Arsenal a late 3-2 win against the Portuguese side at the Emirates.

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