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Nicolas Pepe: Worth the Hype?

The 24-year-old winger from Ivory Coast had an incredible 2018-19 season in France. As a result, the offers are flying. Who will snag him and will he be worth it?

Last updated: 25.07.2019
Nicolas Pepe: Worth the Hype | Sports Social Blog

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The French League, of late, has been producing world-class players like it’s a factory. It seems to have increased after they signed big players like Neymar and MBappe(because he won the World Cup). And with the recent big transfers of Ferland Mendy and Tanguy Ndombele, the demand for the Ligue 1’s key players has become sky-high.  Nicolas Pepe is the latest addition to the list Ligue 1 players generating high demand. The Ivory Coast player took LOSC Lille to no. 2 this past season with his displays of brilliance. It’s going to be interesting to observe which club will pounce and sign him in this window, especially with big-name clubs circling the winger with tempting offers.


Skills and Stats:



His skills seem to dictate that he would definitely be a strong asset. He has a very good mind when it comes to attack. His through balls and general passing are very strong. Pepe is immensely talented when it comes to dribbling and he uses a plethora of skill moves to go past defenders. This combination is one of the reasons why Lille made to the 2nd spot on the French League. His awareness both on and off the ball during attack is very high leading him to create some key passes and dribbles by exploiting gaps and weak spots. While capable at the false-9 position, he definitely prefers the right wing and more often than not, he dominates it.


Nicolas Pepe

Of course the above wouldn’t mean much if he didn’t have the numbers to back up the hype. The 24-year-old does, however, have the numbers in spades. Playing 38 games including one substitution in the Ligue 1, he has scored 22 goals and 11 assists. He placed 2nd on both goal and assist columns in the league only behind Mbappe and Savinier respectively. He averaged 3.1 shots per game. True to the lofty claims, he managed 1.8 key passes and a whopping 2.7 dribbles per game. Due to his fairly tall frame he even won 1.2 aerial balls throughout the 2018-19 season.


Interested Suitors:


The figure being thrown around is £70 million. There seem to be two clubs who are closely linked with Pepe. They are Manchester United and Liverpool.


Manchester United were positioned 6th by the end of the PL season 2018-19 much to the disappointment of the club’s patrons. Being one of the wealthiest clubs in the world, they are looking to rebuild the team for the better. Their frontline would be heavily bolstered by his inclusion. They would be able to play an aggressive 4-3-3 with a Pepe-Rashford-Martial combo. Because of his well-established finishing skills, Pepe would be able to switch with Rashford and perform varying combinations as both are very comfortable in wing and no.9 positions. 

 Nicolas Pepe to Liverpool / Manchester United 

Liverpool would have an overabundance of attack-minded players but that’s not exactly a bad thing. The reds won the UCL last year and lost the Premier League title by a hair to Man City. Their attacking trio is considered to be one of the best in the world. Even Divock Origi who often sits on the bench shone this season. One of the reasons they lost the league could be that a significant amount of their players played 30-plus matches and their stamina wasn’t enough to combat Man City’s rotations. This and a few other signings and developing of existing players (and pushing for rotations) would be a massive step forward in improving their game. He could play right-wing and link up with Firmino or cross the ball to Mane’. His strong finishing would enable him to go for goal himself as well.


While the amount in question is definitely high, it is definitely understandable especially with the teams in question. Couple that with his brilliant 2018-19 season in France and it seems both teams will be locked in an intense battle to sign him. Whichever way it Pepe leans towards, people will certainly expect a lot of great things from the budding winger in the seasons to come. 


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