Transfer Focus: Liverpool eyeing rising star Nicolas Pepe

Liverpool are reportedly chasing Lille sensation Nicolas Pepe.

What’s the story?

According to Sunday Times reporter Duncan Castles, Pepe is a target for the Reds as they look to boost their attacking depth.

“From what I’ve been told, Liverpool have been in contact with Pepe’s agent to discuss a deal, his interest in coming and what it would cost to come. Lille are aware of this and are waiting for a bid,” Castles said on the The Transfer Window podcast.

Xherdan Shaqiri has been linked with a £22.5m move to West Ham, so could Pepe be the perfect replacement for the Swiss international?

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Perfect upgrade?

Shaqiri had a good debut season on Merseyside, but after signing the winger for just £13m (BBC) last summer, the Reds may well be tempted to cash in while they have the chance.

And in Pepe they would have not just a replacement for the former Stoke City wing wizard, but an upgrade.

The Ivory Coast international just enjoyed a stunning breakout season, firing Lille into a second-place finish in Ligue 1 with 22 goals and 11 assists in 37 league starts.

Contributing to a goal nearly once per game, the 24 year-old can play on either wing, has explosive speed and a knack of scoring outrageous goals, so he is basically a younger, better version of Shaqiri.

The Reds need to build depth if they want to challenge Manchester City again, so selling Shaqiri for nearly double the fee they paid for him only makes sense if a better player arrives instead, and Pepe is exactly that.

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