Lille president Gerard Lopez has named his price for Nicolas Pepe – and it’s £68.7m, according to reports.
With the 23-year-old wideman being pursued by Arsenal and Manchester United, and Bayern Munich also said to be loitering with intent, the French club is ready to cash in at the end of the season. In fact, TalkSPORT says that Lopez is “bracing himself for a host of bids” and is ready to whip up a bidding war between the two Premier League giants.
Asked by French broadcaster Canal Plus about Pepe’s future, Lopez replied: “We have offers, yes. In England, there are clubs, we have had offers worth €50m [£45m].”
Lopez said the club had rejected those bids, and named his price. However, he warned: “That does not just depend on the club. It also depends on the player.”
De Ligt in demand
Arsenal face competition from Barcelona for Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt, with the Catalan club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirming that they are interested in signing the 19-year-old defender, says Metro.
Outstanding in Ajax’s stunning Champions League win over Real Madrid on Tuesday, de Ligt’s stock is higher than ever, and Arsenal, Juventus, Barcelona and Manchester City are all competing to sign the teenage sensation.
Metro reports that Unai Emery last month “identified the centre-back as a target for Arsenal”, but the Gunners may have trouble meeting Ajax’s asking price of £70m for de Ligt.
That is unlikely to be the case for Barcelona, with their president Bartomeu telling SER Radio: “His name is on the table. Where there is such talent away from Barcelona, we’re always looking at them.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror has better news for Gooners, reporting that Barcelona have “ended their pursuit” of PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot – which means Arsenal’s chances of landing the Frenchman in June have “dramatically increased”.
Arsenal on top in the race for Under
According to FootballLondon.com, the Gunners could soon gain a crucial advantage in the race to sign Roma winger Cengiz Under.
The London club is reportedly trying to lure the Serie A club’s director of football, Monchi, away from Rome in order to bring him to the Emirates as their technical director. It’s believed that Emery is close to persuading Monchi to come to Arsenal and hopes to exploit his friendship with Under in the summer transfer window.
Arsenal have also been in touch with Benfica about signing striker Luka Jovic, says The Sun.
As the newspaper notes, the 21-year-old is enjoying an excellent loan stint with German side Eintracht Frankfurt this season. Jovic has netted 21 goals in 32 matches – putting him neck and neck with Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga top marksman chart.
And that’s caught the eye of Unai Emery. The Sun says that the Spaniard “wants to add the youngster to his attacking ranks this summer”, although he will have to cough up the £52m that Benfica are demanding.