By Will Butcher
Newcastle are set to take on Europe’s biggest clubs in the pursuit of Angers winger Nicolas Pepe, according to a report.
French newspaper L’Equipe claim Newcastle are just one a of whole host of clubs that want the one-time Ivory Coast international, with Angers valuing him at £8.4million before bonuses.
Ligue 1 giants Lyon are winning the race to sign the 21-year-old, who is also interesting Juventus, Monaco, Lille and Roma. The Toon will have to act quickly if they are to grab his signature.
Pepe has shot to prominence in recent weeks with a number of eye-catching performances for mid-table outfit Angers, scoring twice in a side that have scored just 15 goals in 17 league games.
Possessing an abundance of pace, Pepe has developed a reputation for his ability to take on defenders and reach the byline.
The French side’s number 19 is able to play on both flanks, as well as a centre-forward, as Rafa Benitez looks likely to enter the January transfer market for attacking reinforcements.
Football Insider verdict:
With the highly-rated winger on the shortlists of Italian champions Juventus and Champions League outfit Monaco, it is unlikely that Pepe will favour a move to Tyneside. However, Benitez should look to do everything he can to bring the talented youngster to St. James’ Park as he continues to shine at top-flight level. At just over £8million, Pepe has his best years ahead of him and would be a superb piece of business from the Toon. Newcastle must move quickly though, as interest continues to develop in Pepe which could tempt Angers to charge even more for an asset who has three years remaining on his current deal.
In other Newcastle transfer news, here are three senior players that could quit the Toon in January.