According to recent reports in France, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan have both submitted €90m (£80m) bids for Lille’s in-demand winger Nicolas Pepe over this weekend.
Pepe, who netted 22 goals and created 11 more this past season in Ligue 1, has been heavily linked with a move to one of Europe’s elite. Champions League winners Liverpool, league rivals Manchester United and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich were said to be monitoring his progress throughout the campaign.
However, the Bavarians were widely believed to be frontrunners for his signature – not least after Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi’s ACL injury meant a summer deal for the English teenager was firmly off the cards.
Inter were reportedly proposing €60m (£53.5m) earlier this season but given the surge in competition for his services, are prepared to pay more with add-ons and future bonuses included.
However, the validity of the sources must be challenged: New boss Antonio Conte is said to be targeting United’s wantaway centre-forward Romelu Lukaku as a priority acquisition this summer, and neither will come cheap for a side who have struggled to assert their financial firepower in recent seasons.
So from that perspective, Atletico would hold the advantage over Inter – even though they too have their sights set on another exciting forward elsewhere.
Benfica’s Joao Felix is reportedly close to completing an eyewatering €120m deal, though Diego Simeone’s side too are bracing themselves for summer departures and Antoine Griezmann’s departure will free up more funds in the process.
Only time will tell if reports of improved transfer offers is true or not, though interest in Pepe’s services across Europe has already proven genuine and it appears only a matter of time before he does leave Lille for pastures new – though their asking price will be high.
Spain, Italy, Germany and England: there is interest from all four of the other top leagues across the continent, although given Bayern’s recent transfer policy tweaks, they remain favourites.
Serge Gnabry was named the club’s player of the year recently and he features heavily from the right. However, the legendary Ribery-Robben duo departing may force their hand to add more competition in attack with Thomas Muller (29) and Robert Lewandowski (30) not getting any younger.