Manchester United face battle with three clubs to sign Lille striker Nicolas Pepe – report

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United have reportedly joined Napoli, Inter Milan and another unnamed club in meeting Lille’s €80m valuation of striker Nicolas Pepe.

The 24-year-old, who Lille are resigned to losing this summer, netted 24 goals in a remarkable breakthrough campaign in Ligue 1 last season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in pursuit of reinforcements at No.9 this summer due to the likely departure of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan.

Lille’s president Gerard Lopez, in response to a report from France, confirmed that four clubs had indeed made acceptable offers for Pepe, and implied that Napoli’s offer was currently in the driving seat.

When reports talk about the ‘race’ to sign a player, this scenario is what they should have in mind. Four clubs, including United, have met Lille’s valuation for a player who will – not maybe will – leave for pastures new this summer.

This is where, you suspect, each club comes back to Lille with a more conclusive package – wages, bonuses, agents fees, etc. – and the one with the best offer wins out. Whether or not we see a straight bidding war over the flat fee paid for Pepe remains to be seen.

And there is, of course, the small matter of what Pepe actually wants, which also remains to be seen.

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