Lille star Nicolas Pepe open to 'beautiful' summer transfer
By Michael Kelleher
Last Updated: 01/01/19 5:36pm
Lille winger Nicolas Pepe says he has opened the door to a "beautiful" move to a big European club this summer.
The 23-year-old Ivory Coast international has established himself as one of the hottest prospects in Ligue 1 this season.
He has scored 12 goals in Ligue 1, one behind top scorer Neymar, and added five assists to help Lille climb to second in the French table.
That form has put him on the radar of some of Europe's biggest clubs, and while he says he would not entertain a move in January, he is open to leaving in the summer.
Asked if he will still be at Lille on February 1, Pepe told French newspaper Le Voix du Nord: "For me, that's for sure. As the president has already said, my desire is to finish the season at Lille.
"I am under contract until 2022. My idea is to end this season in Lille and then, why not, leave for somewhere in Europe. It would be beautiful."
Prising Pepe away from Lille will not be cheap.
The club's sporting director, Luis Campos, has admitted Lille are prepared to listen to offers in the summer but says they will demand a significant transfer fee.
"I hope and we will do all we can for him to stay," Campos told Telefoot last week.
"All the good clubs in the world are watching Pepe and that is normal. The president was clear, he wants Pepe to finish the season here.
"But for me, with my experience in football, I think that if a big club comes with a big offer and is able to convince the player… €80m (£72.45m) is his price."