Liverpool will not pursue a deal for Lille forward Nicolas Pepe… with big-money move to Inter Milan or Atletico Madrid more likely in summer window
- Nicolas Pepe has long since been linked with a big-money move to Liverpool
- Sportsmail understands Reds won’t pursue a deal for Lille forward this summer
- Sporting director Michael Edwards ‘personally reassured Lille boss this month’
- Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid look more likely moves for £80m-rated Pepe
Liverpool will not pursue a deal for Nicolas Pepe this summer, with Lille’s £80million man more likely to head to Inter Milan or Atletico Madrid.
The Reds have been heavily linked with a move for the Ivory Coast forward, both in this window and previous, but Sportsmail understands he is not currently a transfer target.
In fact, it has been reported that sporting director Michael Edwards personally spoke to Lille manager Christophe Galtier earlier in June to reassure him that no move was being made for his player.
Nicolas Pepe (right) does not look set for a move to Champions League winners Liverpool
The Lille forward is instead more likely to head to Inter Milan or Atletico Madrid this summer
The Liverpool Echo report that Edwards claimed he didn’t know where the reports were coming from and that the Anfield club had ‘zero interest’ in Pepe.
The player is likely to be in high demand after netting 22 times for the Ligue 1 runners-up last season, but a move to Italy or Spain is perhaps more likely.
According to a report in L’Equipe this week, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid are leading the race to sign Pepe, in a deal that could cost around £80m.
Inter offered £54m earlier in the summer, and have since increased it with various add-ons and bonuses in the contract.
Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards has reassured Lille they are not coming for Pepe
After 22 Ligue 1 goals last season, Pepe is valued at around £80m by the French side
Atletico view Pepe as the ideal replacement for their French striker Antoine Griezmann, who is expected to join Barcelona this summer.
The Spanish club have already signalled their ambitions by closing in on the £107m signing of Benfica wonderkid Joao Felix.
Money is tighter for Inter, who have just appointed the former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.
Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku remains their priority signing for the summer but the Belgian has a price tag of between £63m and £72m.
They had hoped to raise funds by offloading another striker in Mauro Icardi but he is refusing to leave following a rift with the club.
Atletico Madrid are already busy in the market and are closing in on Benfica’s Joao Felix