According to a recent report by France Football, as mentioned in the Express, Barcelona are set to battle with Paris Saint-Germain to secure the signature of Nicolas Pepe from LOSC Lille this summer. The same source has also claimed that the Catalans have held talks with Lille to discuss a possible transfer at the end of this campaign.
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a rich vein of form and has lit up the Ligue 1 with some majestic displays for Lille during this campaign. The Ligue 1 winger has made 28 appearances for Christophe Galtier’s side this term, finding the back of the net 17 times while creating 11 assists in all competitions.
The Ivory Coast prospect was born in Mantes-la-Jolie in France and started his playing career with Poitiers FC before making a switch to SCO Angers B on a free transfer. It took him two years to establish himself in their ‘A’ team.
Since then, Pepe had a season-long loan spell at US Orleans before claiming a regular starting berth at Angers. The Lille chiefs wasted no time in recruiting him in the summer of 2017.
The Ligue 1 wide man has lung-bursting pace and boasts terrific ball control which helps him dribble past the opposition defenders with minimal effort out in the wide areas. The Ivorian has also developed a knack for scoring and setting up goals as evidenced by his remarkable record this season. Pepe can play the decisive through ball in the final third which makes him such a bright young prospect in French football.
The potential acquisition of a player such as Pepe will undoubtedly bolster Ernesto Valverde’s attacking options at the Nou Camp. Barca have a plethora of wingers in their squad such as Ousmane Dembele, Phillipe Coutinho, Lionel Messi, Malcom and Rafinha vying for a place down the channels in Valverde’s first-team. Hence, Pepe’s addition will add more goals and assists in the Barca attack and will also increase competition for places within the Catalans squad.
The La Liga giants will do well to lure Pepe to make a switch to the Nou Camp, but the jury is still out on whether he will be able to handle the expectations of playing for a big club like Barcelona.
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