23-year-old Nicolas Pepe is perhaps one of the most in-demand wingers currently in the market. And there’s a good reason why – Pepe scored 20 goals this season in Ligue 1 for Lille, the second most in the league after Kylian Mbappe, while also coming second in the assists chart after registering 11 assists.
The winger is trailed by many clubs but Manchester United believe that they can sign Pepe in the summer transfer window. The report suggests that Manchester United have placed a bid of around £45 million for the attacking right winger. The Ivory Coast international moved to Lille in 2017 and has impressed for the French club in the two seasons that he has played there, while he has represented Ivory Coast 11 times on the international stage.
Pepe scored 14 goals in all competitions in his first season with Lille, and is currently on 21 goals in all competitions in this season.
What will Pepe bring to Manchester United?
The Ivorian is a left-footed player who likes to drive inside, taking on defenders at will. One characteristic of Pepe’s play is that he’s always looking to advance towards the opposition’s defence, not allowing them to breathe or giving them an opportunity to take it easy.
Pepe plays as a right-sided attacker and moves towards the central areas with the ball, while also laying through balls for his fellow attackers. His pace and direct dribbling can get the fans at Old Trafford off their feet, while also providing the much-needed impetus to carry the ball into the attack which has been sorely missing in United’s play in this season’s disappointing campaign.
His lightning-quick acceleration can catch defenders off guard, while his calm finishing has made him one of Ligue 1’s most lethal attackers.
United currently don’t have a player of the type of Pepe on the right. Anthony Martial comes the closest although he doesn’t possess the pace that Pepe has. The Red Devils have used players like Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and even Marcus Rashford while playing wingers, but none of them has been consistent or held a place down in the team on the right side.