Newcastle United in ‘pole position’ to sign Nicolas Pepe – Reports
Newcastle United are reported to be favourites to sign Nicolas Pepe this summer.
The midfielder/attacker is said to be going to consider his options after the weekend.
Saturday night sees the French Cup Final, when Pepe and unfancied Angers take on PSG.
L’Equipe are reporting that Newcastle are in ‘pole position’ to win the Ivory Coast international’s signature.
Earlier this year it was claimed that Newcastle had a deadline day bid turned down for Nicolas Pepe, with Hull also said to have seen an 11m euros (approx £9.5m) bid knocked back by the player.
At the time Angers were third bottom of Ligue 1 and Pepe allegedly wanted to stay and help the team avoid relegation before considering a move.
Moving on, the player has helped his team finish a respectable 12th of 20, as well as qualifying for that cup final, and L’Equipe say that when he agreed to stay in January, Nicolas Pepe was told the club wouldn’t stand in the way of a move this summer.
Only 21, the midfielder/forward has appeared in 33 of the 38 Angers Ligue 1 games this season but only 11 have been as a starter, suggesting he isn’t the finished article just yet.
With only three goals and one assist in this league season just ended, he is more known for his hard work than scoring lots of goals.
The 21 year old winger broke into the Ivory Coast senior set-up and went to the African Cup of Nations in January, though he was an unused substitute in all three games as they crashed out at the group stage.
The French media reports claim that Rafa Benitez is a fan of the player and has been to watch him play in person, with claims that once Newcastle won promotion, the United boss was quick to register NUFC’s interest in the player once again.
Amongst the other clubs credited with interest in Nicolas Pepe are Lille, Marseille, Watford, Wolfsburg, Hamburg and Lyon.
With the way the transfer market is set to be this summer, it looks more than likely that Rafa Benitez will have to include at least a couple of inexperienced/promising players amongst his signings, whether Newcastle will be returning to shop in France remains to be seen.
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