In the battle between Liverpool and Lille—and between Liverpool’s club-connected journalists and those based in France—over whether Liverpool are actually interested in Nicolas Pépé, we’re solidly on the “no” side.
Liverpool could certainly use a versatile forward, but with the locked-in trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, and Roberto Firmino leading the line for the Reds, a £60M-plus signing entering his prime years wouldn’t make sense.
Perhaps Liverpool will buy a player. Or perhaps they’ll rely on Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Rhian Brewster. Either way, Pépé isn’t coming. And hopefully we’ll be able to stop talking about him very, very soon now.
“For Nico, it is almost done,” Lille president Gerard Lopez told La Voix du Nord. “He could have left last summer. It is true that there are big offers and big clubs in for him, so I think so, but you never know in football.”
In addition to Liverpool, Pépé has been heavily linked with Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United at times this summer. He’s also been linked with Everton—and it would say a lot if that’s the sort of club he ends up at.
Namely that all the noise out of France from Lille about big clubs being interested was little more than an effort to drive interest and spark a bidding war that never came—similar to last summer with Jean Michaël Seri.
Seri was linked with Liverpool and Barcelona and other big clubs, with journalists with ties to them mostly playing down any supposed interest while outlets in France insisted a big money move to a big club was certain.
In the end, Seri signed for Fulham, endured a largely miserable season individually and as part of that disappointing and subsequently demoted Fulham side, and has now moved on to Galatasaray on a season-long loan.
Given Liverpool’s strong denials of interest—along with similar denials from Bayern—and how long talk of big teams and big interest from Lille’s end has dragged out, that’s rather how we’re expecting this one to go.