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Nicolas Pépé (RW) Lille OSC

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Chrenyan

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Exclusive | Mohamed Bouhafsi on Nicolas Pépé: “There are very concrete discussions with Liverpool.”

Speaking as part on an exclusive interview with Get French Football News, Mohamed Bouhafsi discussed the latest on the future of Lille attacker Nicolas Pépé.

“This is an €80m situation. So it is a situation that needs time and calm. What I can say is that there are very concrete discussions with Liverpool. Discussions that are not even denied by Lille, at Lille they don’t deny the very concrete interest and discussions from and with Liverpool. Even Bayern Munich, I haven’t checked in on this situation for a couple of days, but it is possible that other clubs have inserted themselves into the running. I know that one of my colleagues, Bilel Ghazi, who does an excellent job, who I want to congratulate because on top of that he is a very nice person at L’Équipe, speaks about Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan.”

“I don’t have any information on Atletico Madrid. For Inter Milan, I did speak about an unnamed 3rd club, following my exchanges on Nicolas Pépé and with Liverpool fans, and I think that this 3rd club could be Inter Milan. But I think that at €80m, this deal is too expensive for the Italian side. Then, I know that Jürgen Klopp adores Nicolas Pépé’s profile, he brings a lot of speed and he is made to play in England, with quick transitions and an exceptional ability to counter-attack. Discussions have been had with Liverpool, who have a very profound interest. The other thing that I know is that Nicolas Pépé is at AFCON and wants a couple of days to make his decision…”

“Liverpool haven’t denied (interest in Nicolas Pépé). I know that Bayern Munich are still following the situation closely, even if the Ivorian is not #1 on their shortlist. Their interest is still there like it was in winter. It is a situation that will decant in the coming days, or coming weeks, maybe just after AFCON. It needs time, because Nicolas Pépé is asking for time, and we have to respect the player’s wishes, who wants to concentrate on his national team. And don’t be surprised if other clubs dive into the race in the coming days, at Lille, I’m told that they are anticipating other Premier League clubs to get involved. It is not unthinkable.”



Mods - please feel free to advise if this is in order, but I think Bouhafsi is a reliable source so I've posted on here.
 


Chrenyan

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I feel it is also important to quote the respected Melissa Reddy's reply to this:

#LFC call info they've had talks with Lille over Nicolas Pepe "pure lies." No meetings/discussions of any sort have taken place. Michael Edwards personally got in touch with Lille manager Christophe Galtier earlier this month to say there's "zero interest"

I feel there are a couple of issues with this from Melissa, which is why I've gone ahead to open the thread:

1. Why would Michael Edwards get in touch with the Manager to say there is no interest? Why the Manager and not someone higher up in Lille's hierarchy, or someone involved in transfers?

2. Secondly, and a number of people have said this, why call up people to say, basically: "Hello? Monsieur Galtier? Just letting you know that we are not interested in your player..."

The real issue for me, which I had stated elsewhere, is: I can't see why we're signing what seems to be cover for Salah as opposed to cover for Mane. However, this typically excellent thread by @WC_LFC_Torres points out, Klopp may be looking to go 4-2-3-1 with Salah up top and Bobby in the role of second striker.
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

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Liverpool have reached out to other clubs before to reassure them over Liverpool's intentions so that club doesn't get forced into a poor negotiating position due to us. We did it by contacting Dortmund and advising we wouldn't sell Coutinho that summer so Dortmund wouldn't be forced to accept a lower fee on Dembele as Barca were saying they needed to hold back money to buy Coutinho off us.
 

lfc.eddie

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Liverpool have reached out to other clubs before to reassure them over Liverpool's intentions so that club doesn't get forced into a poor negotiating position due to us. We did it by contacting Dortmund and advising we wouldn't sell Coutinho that summer so Dortmund wouldn't be forced to accept a lower fee on Dembele as Barca were saying they needed to hold back money to buy Coutinho off us.
I can see how that helped Dortmund in terms of getting better fees for their players. How is this helping Lille? By letting the world know we don’t want the player would drive the price down, no?
 



Jaytinho

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Well, Bouhafsi is no chump when it comes to French football, so I genuinely believe that theres been discussions. Whether a deal be completed is another story. I checked him out in that Ivory Coast game against South Africa, he was tearing shit apart on that right wing
 

Jaytinho

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Also...

1. Melissa Reddy has been chosen by the club to be James Pearce this time around lol to take the pressure off the deal, like with Alisson. Rewind to July 2018 ala Echo "Liverpool have cooled their interest in Roma goalkeeper Alisson"

2. I believe if Klopp signs Pepe, this will be a tactical switch with Mo moving to CF and Bobby to AM (4-2-3-1). Mo played 14 games at CF last season (and scored 15). Bobby played about 12 in AM (whoscored.com stats)

A 4-2-3-1 shape with Pepe in RW, Sadio in LW, Bobby in AM, Mo CF...GOD DAMN!
 

redfanman

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I feel it is also important to quote the respected Melissa Reddy's reply to this:

#LFC call info they've had talks with Lille over Nicolas Pepe "pure lies." No meetings/discussions of any sort have taken place. Michael Edwards personally got in touch with Lille manager Christophe Galtier earlier this month to say there's "zero interest"

I feel there are a couple of issues with this from Melissa, which is why I've gone ahead to open the thread:

1. Why would Michael Edwards get in touch with the Manager to say there is no interest? Why the Manager and not someone higher up in Lille's hierarchy, or someone involved in transfers?

2. Secondly, and a number of people have said this, why call up people to say, basically: "Hello? Monsieur Galtier? Just letting you know that we are not interested in your player..."

The real issue for me, which I had stated elsewhere, is: I can't see why we're signing what seems to be cover for Salah as opposed to cover for Mane. However, this typically excellent thread by @WC_LFC_Torres points out, Klopp may be looking to go 4-2-3-1 with Salah up top and Bobby in the role of second striker.
This isn't the first time our club have personally contacted another to deny stories in the media regarding contact with that team's players.

Contact with the manager has probably come about thru it being requested - and either higher figures have already been spoken with or it is to confirm what those higher figures have already told their manager that we are not talking with the player over a move.

Contact isn't just to say no interest. It's to also protect our club from accusations of tapping up and illegal approaches. It's to maintain good relations for when we have any dealings with them in future.

Why is the real issue one of signing cover for Salah, when there is no evidence we actually are?
 



Anfield rd Dreamer

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I can see how that helped Dortmund in terms of getting better fees for their players. How is this helping Lille? By letting the world know we don’t want the player would drive the price down, no?
Several possibilities;

1; Lille may be getting steamrolled into selling by agents, us letting Lille know may help them stand firm on forcing the player to stay.

2; It might be to clarify the situation. Lille may be holding off on interest from another club believing we are coming in with a higher offer. Us saying we aren't involved let's others get on with things.

3; We may not like our name being bandied about. We now show players they are our one and only option and we are prepared to wait for them or go without. Keita, VvD and Alisson for instance. By it going around we are seriously in for Pepe it could hurt that "all or nothing this is how important you are to us" stance we have with targets that helps develop their "Liverpool only" mentality we've been seeing recently.

4; As @redfanman said we may want to avoid allegations of tapping up Southampton style.

5; It might not be getting done for Lilles benefit. What if its Dortmund or another club we've good relations with trying to buy him and Lille are saying "Liverpool are offering x" and we are making sure everyone knows we aren't so Lille can stop using our name like we did between Barca and Dortmund when Barca were trying to use our name to get a better deal.

A few reasons off top of my head. May be more.
 

GaryBarlow99

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Sounds like we may have taken Pepe to Blackpool before speaking to Lille about the price and Edwards doesnt want another VVD situation ;-)
 

SadiosMio

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Several possibilities;

1; Lille may be getting steamrolled into selling by agents, us letting Lille know may help them stand firm on forcing the player to stay.

2; It might be to clarify the situation. Lille may be holding off on interest from another club believing we are coming in with a higher offer. Us saying we aren't involved let's others get on with things.

3; We may not like our name being bandied about. We now show players they are our one and only option and we are prepared to wait for them or go without. Keita, VvD and Alisson for instance. By it going around we are seriously in for Pepe it could hurt that "all or nothing this is how important you are to us" stance we have with targets that helps develop their "Liverpool only" mentality we've been seeing recently.

4; As @redfanman said we may want to avoid allegations of tapping up Southampton style.

5; It might not be getting done for Lilles benefit. What if its Dortmund or another club we've good relations with trying to buy him and Lille are saying "Liverpool are offering x" and we are making sure everyone knows we aren't so Lille can stop using our name like we did between Barca and Dortmund when Barca were trying to use our name to get a better deal.

A few reasons off top of my head. May be more.
I think 2 and 3 might be the closest. So the list bandied about is LFC, Bayern, and maybe Atletico and Inter. We know Bayern needs a winger, maybe more than one. It makes sense that they would be legitimately interested. But we're only legitimately interested in a few wingers (whoever it is) and we want those players to know that -- even if we don't sign them this window.

I also wonder if Bayern is trying to run out the clock on the PL window before making the move, in case they have to react to a bid we or another PL club might make on someone they're interested in, but not necessarily this year (like Werner?).

Probably we have never contacted Lille, but Pepe's agent has been saying he's in contact with LFC about the player, so Lille might be as much in doubt as the suitors, if not more.

EDIT TO ADD: Apparently Christian Falk of Sportbild is saying it's not true that Bayern have registered interest either lol. So...yeah. Still seems possible that they will and are waiting it out along with Griezmann, Dembele and/or Eriksen.
 
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lfc.eddie

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Several possibilities;

1; Lille may be getting steamrolled into selling by agents, us letting Lille know may help them stand firm on forcing the player to stay.

2; It might be to clarify the situation. Lille may be holding off on interest from another club believing we are coming in with a higher offer. Us saying we aren't involved let's others get on with things.

3; We may not like our name being bandied about. We now show players they are our one and only option and we are prepared to wait for them or go without. Keita, VvD and Alisson for instance. By it going around we are seriously in for Pepe it could hurt that "all or nothing this is how important you are to us" stance we have with targets that helps develop their "Liverpool only" mentality we've been seeing recently.

4; As @redfanman said we may want to avoid allegations of tapping up Southampton style.

5; It might not be getting done for Lilles benefit. What if its Dortmund or another club we've good relations with trying to buy him and Lille are saying "Liverpool are offering x" and we are making sure everyone knows we aren't so Lille can stop using our name like we did between Barca and Dortmund when Barca were trying to use our name to get a better deal.

A few reasons off top of my head. May be more.
Alright, so safe to say it isn't exactly helping Lille but rather helping ourselves. Agree with points there on the reasoning behind us doing what we did in rejecting claims we've talked to the player. It isn't to help the selling club. As for point 4 and 5, if there's a tapping up, I doubt we would be doing it again and the president of Lille would have known long before the news broke if we did ( agents are demons, they will tell on us). Point 5 is just plai crazy, that would put us in a very bad light with other clubs.
 



redbj

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Well you've got a player there that the club doesn't think is good enough...
Who’s that?

The club captain or the guy (if we sign him) we are paying upwards of 70 mil for?

Im not following.
 



SadiosMio

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You speaking of Henderson?
This is just offensive. Henderson lifted big ears literally this month. You're putting him behind a guy the club has categorically said they're not interested in.

You should probably have a word with yourself.
 

SadiosMio

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Who’s that?

The club captain or the guy (if we sign him) we are paying upwards of 70 mil for?

Im not following.
"If". The most informed reporters Liverpool has are unambiguously saying otherwise.
 

JibJab

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There is something notable about them responding very quickly to quell rumors about Liverpool’s interest. When have they done so with such publicity - such caustic tone - in the past?

The most notable recent example involved their public withdrawal from the Virgil pursuit after their interest was leaked and Southampton claimed we tapped him up. They cooled interest in Alisson last summer, but that was in part due to Roma's obscene price tag at first. Otherwise, usually rumors are quelled more softly by the media - "Liverpool has had no discussions" or "Liverpool is not interested" - if even addressed at all.

It could be as simple as Liverpool not wanting Lille to use us as leverage against another club to drive up Pepe's price - but truthfully, we're almost always linked to dozens of players every summer with the vast majority of the links being rubbish designed to drive a harder bargain. So, it doesn't make sense to me that our reaction would be solely caused by that concern.

It could be concern about not wanting to drive up a fee that WE'RE negotiating with Lille - perhaps Edwards is pissed that this was leaked and he's upset that Lille isn't negotiating in good faith with us so we've withdrawn publicly.
 

Kopstar

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I think the most likely reason is a determination to protect Edwards' reputation. He's seen as a straight shooter (rightly so). If he spoke with Lille and assured them that we had no interest in pursuing Pepe this summer then the club are going to be pretty incensed by reports/rumours to the contrary because it implies that Edwards' cannot be trusted.

That, more than anything else, is almost certainly the reason for the rather robust and angry denial.

If these rumours start doing the rounds and they're not true but there hasn't been a previous assurance given by Edwards/the club to the player's club then those rumours are likely to either to simply be ignored or a softer message of "Liverpool has had no discussions" or "Liverpool is not interested" is likely to be put out.
 



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