Transfer talk: Liverpool to pip Utd in race for Pépé

Not only have we utterly trounced Manchester United in on pitch performance this season but our return to world football's elite means that we are also leaving them in our wake regards being able to attract the best players in the business. Now, with the summer transfer window fast approaching, the rumour mill is whispering our name (League Leaders Liverpool) as heading the charge for Utd, Everton and Arsenal target Nicolas Pépé.

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As reported here we've apparently made a formal enquiry about the 23 year old Ivorian who currently plays for Ligue 1's second place team Lille. They further suggest that this formality we've initiated puts us in control of any potential transfer proceedings. A transfer which has more than a smattering of viability, in fact Gerard Lopez, owner and president of Lille, recently told French site Telefoot:

"Four or five players will be leaving this summer."

"All clubs are forced to balance their accounts except perhaps one. I would say yes, it is sure he [Pépé] will leave."

"He enters a price range that can no longer be paid. There is a career choice to make for him, I think he will have the choice."

So there we have it, should we wish to sign Pépé there appears to be little in our way; his club is resigned to him leaving and we apparently lead the pack of potential suitors. The question is though, do we want to sign him?

Let's take a look at Pépé in action to find out, first though here are some rudimentaries:

As above Pépé is 23 years young, he is also 1.83m low and a left footer. He plays two main positions, right wing and striker. According to TransferMarkt his current value is £36m which to me seems a veritable bargain for someone who is second in Ligue 1 goal scoring this season only to established star player Kylian Mbappe.

In 36 games Pépé has netted 19 goals, add to that 11 assists and it makes an appealing case. By way of comparison Salah this season to date (35 games) is on 19 goals and 10 assists.

You could consider this Pépé's breakthrough season but to back it up, in the one before he bagged 13 goals and 5 assists so clearly he's not a one season wonder. Those are I feel very good and consistent stats for someone of that age and the hype surrounding Pépé looks to be warranted. Now let's take a closer look:

Well, just when I was starting to think I should be giving Origi more of a chance to prove his worth, along comes a player who makes me think, nah. Whether we need to sign another striker this summer at all though is open to debate. My view is as follows.

Sturridge is a dead duck in the water as far as having a future at LFC. Origi, I would be happy to see with us next season to have more time and opportunity to carve a place in our squad for the foreseeable. I have my doubts though as to whether he will be good enough for us in the long run. This lad Pépé on the other hand, get him signed up double quick. He looks absolute mustard and his stats show he is improving rapidly year on year. It seems to me his potential ceiling is pretty darn high. The fact he can play central as well as out wide is also a huge plus.

The only question mark is perhaps whether Pépé could provide the defensive contribution which is required of every player in a Jurgen Klopp side. Other than that it seems a no-brainer, let's get this great player in the making snapped up before he goes and becomes great elsewhere. Agree?
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