LIVERPOOL’s bid to sign Lille winger Nicolas Pepe is ‘gaining momentum’, according to the latest reports from French media.
The Reds have “been in contact” with Pepe’s agent and have reportedly tabled a bid for the £70m-rated star.
The reported interest in Pepe comes after the 24-year-old bagged 23 goals for Lille in all competitions this campaign, while also contributing 11 assists.
“From what I’ve been told, Liverpool have been in contact with Pepe’s agent to discuss a deal,” journalist Duncan Castles told The Transfer Window podcast.
“Manchester United have enquired directly to Lille about what the transfer fee would be. PSG also have an interest in Pepe.
“Lille have been very clear he’s available for sale and the asking price is €80m (£70m).
“They would love to have a bid come in from Liverpool and United to get an auction going.”
French publication Le10Sport claim Liverpool’s bid for Pepe for was turned down, although the value of the offer remains a mystery.
Lille appear to be playing a waiting game, because the report states they have received two other proposals from unnamed clubs.
With Manchester United and PSG also interested, a bidding war could still ignite.
Interestingly, the report also claims Jurgen Klopp rates the Ivorian so highly that he is prepared to sacrifice Mohamed Salah for the cause.
Klopp ‘loves’ Pepe to the extent that he is prepared to disrupt the harmonious atmosphere in the Anfield dressing room following the Reds’ Champions League win.
Salah has been speculatively linked with a mega-money move abroad in recent transfer windows, and it appears the German would sell if the right offer came in.
Real Madrid was touted as a destination but Los Blancos have finally landed Eden Hazard so the Bernabeu seems an unlikely destination.
Liverpool have a history of selling to Barcelona, with both Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho heading to the Nou Camp for exorbitant fees in years gone by.
Coutinho’s spell at Barca has not gone to plan and the Catalan side are reportedly considering moving him on.