With the January transfer window now history, it is reported that Newcastle had a deadline day bid turned down for Nicolas Pepe.

The Magpies had been linked with the 21 year old since December and L’Equipe claim that the player knocked back the chance of a transfer to Tyneside.

The Ivory Coast international plays for Angers and they are currently third bottom of Ligue 1, only two points above the relegation zone.

The relegation battle is unbelievably tight with the bottom 10 clubs separated by only five points – former Newcastle players Sylvain Marveaux and Mehdi Abeid are also involved, Marveaux is now at bottom club Lorient and Abeid plays for Dijon who are level on points with Angers and fourth bottom.

Nicolas Pepe is reported to have turned down a January move, due in a large part to wanting to help Angers out of relegation trouble.

Back in January 2014 it was claimed to be a similar situation with Remy Cabella, the winger staying at Montpellier and successfully helping them to stay up before then signing for Newcastle in summer 2014.

Whether Nicolas Pepe eventually becomes a Newcastle player remains to be seen but as well as turning down United, the winger allegedly also turned down Watford, Hull, Marseille and Lyon in favour of staying at Angers, at least until the summer.

The 21 year old winger recently broke into the Ivory Coast senior set-up and went to the African Cup of Nations, though he was an unused substitute in all three games as they crashed out at the group stage.

Nicolas Pepe returned from Gabon and scored the winner as Angers beat relegation rivals Metz 2-1, that result lifting Pepe’s club out of the relegation zone.

That was the player’s third league goal of the season but whilst he has appeared in 21 of Angers’ 24 league matches this season, only seven of those have been in the starting eleven.

Difficult to imagine that this would have been a priority signing for Rafa Benitez last month when he was looking for players ready to play straight away in the promotion race

 



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