According to The Mirror, Manchester United will have to compete with Bayern Munich for the services of Nicolas Pepe. The LOSC Lille player has impressed in the French Ligue 1 for the past 18 months or so, ultimately attracting the interest of several top clubs around Europe, chief among which are believed to be Manchester United.
The Red Devils are eyeing for attacking reinforcements following their offensive woes this season with most of their attackers struggling with lack of form. And Pepe has been identified as a viable candidate as Jose Mourinho seeks to bolster his attacking options.
Nicolas Pepe: Player profile and stats
A product of the Poitiers FC youth academy, Nicolas Pepe began his initial development at the youth teams of SCO Angers before being promoted to the senior side. He played 47 professional matches for Les Scoïstes before sealing a €10 million to LOSC Lille last summer.
At Lille, the Ivorian international has quickly integrated himself as a regular fixture in the first team, having made 36 appearances during his debut season. He also yielded his career-best figures of 13 goals and five assists, which was one of the few bright spots in an underwhelming campaign for Les Douges as they narrowly avoided relegation.
This season, though, Lille have been on fire, sitting second in the league table, largely thanks to Pepe’s impressive tally of six goals and six assists in just nine league matches. Meaning he has been involved in 12 of Lille’s 17 goals so far this campaign, making him one of the most productive attackers in Europe this season.
The attacker has racked up impressive numbers too, averaging almost three shots per game along with almost four dribbles – both team highest. Furthermore, he also averages two key passes per game, which is no surprise given his excellent record this season.
Why do Manchester United need Nicolas Pepe?
Nicolas Pepe is advertised as an attacking midfielder, who excels at providing creativity in the final third, making him an ideal signing for Manchester United.
The Red Devils’ struggles in the offensive department under Jose Mourinho is well-documented and given they have scored only 11 goals this season, lowest in the top half of the league table not naming Wolves, Pepe’s addition makes a world of sense.
The Ivorian is blessed with excellent vision and technique in the final third, and he also tends to carve out opposing defence by using smart through balls. He can also circulate the play, boasting excellent long-passing abilities and unlike Juan Mata, he has a decent amount of pace to burn, making him an ideal fit in the Premier League.
His service in the final third will undoubtedly reinvigorate the chances of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez finding their old scoring form as Manchester United look to spark a comeback after the end of the international break.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored