Lille Not Listening to Nicolas Pepe Offers Until May Amid Bayern Munich Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2019

LILLE, FRANCE - MARCH 15: Lille's Nicolas Pepe reacts during the French Ligue 1 match between Lille OSC (LOSC) and AS Monaco (ASM) at Stade Pierre Mauroy on March 15, 2019 in Lille, France. (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)
Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

Lille President Gerard Lopez has said the club will not listen to offers for Nicolas Pepe until May.

The forward has enjoyed a stellar campaign and has been linked with a number of sides, including German champions Bayern Munich.

Speaking about interest in Pepe and other players at the club, Lopez said there will be no negotiations regarding their stars until the end of the 2018-19 season, per La Voix du Nord (h/t Goal).

"We decided not to talk—be it with clubs or consultants," he said. "There will be silence until mid-May. We have put the dressing room in a bubble and will expand that to the whole club. There are approaches to several players, not just Nicolas."

As Goal reported, Pepe's team-mate Rafael Leao has been linked with a move to Everton.

Pepe was also asked about his future recently and told Canal+ there has yet to be any talks with Bayern despite the speculation (h/t Goal).

"When the moment has come, I will make my decision," the forward said. "Whether there was contact with the Bayern? Certainly not with me. My advisors take care of the affairs, I'm focused on the exciting end of the season. I have no preference, look at all championships. Staying in Lille or going elsewhere is the same for me."

It appears inevitable that some elite sides will move for the Ivory Coast forward, as he's been one of the star men in Ligue 1 this season. Pepe's goals have helped Lille push into second in the French top flight, having been embroiled in a relegation battle for much of the previous term.

As Scouted Football relayed, Pepe has been as productive as some of European football's established stars this term:

Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl

Most direct goal contributions around Europe's top five leagues: 38 • 🇦🇷 Lionel Messi 30 • 🇫🇷 Kylian Mbappé 26 • 🇵🇹 Cristiano Ronaldo 25 • 🇮🇹 Fabio Quagliarella 25 • 🇨🇮 Nicolas Pépé The young, the old, and the GOAT. https://t.co/GJAGgxfb7Y

WhoScored.com highlighted how often his contributions have been decisive for Lille too:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Nicolas Pepe's 25 goals and assists have won Lille 25 points this season, the most in Europe's top five leagues and 44% of their total haul Read @_WrightJosh's article on Europe's MVPs now -- https://t.co/3V8ytqDEA5 https://t.co/fc6DIUBBE9

Pepe can play through the middle, but has proved to be most dangerous when darting infield from the right flank. On his left foot, he is capable of firing shots off at goal, getting into optimal positions in the penalty area and, as his haul of 17 Ligue 1 goals this season shows, finishing with composure.

Given Bayern wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are in the twilights of their respective careers, he would be a savvy addition.

However, it's unlikely the 23-year-old will come cheap. According to beIN Sports (h/t Sport), the German giants have already lodged an €80 million offer (£69 million) offer for the player. Barcelona are also said to be interested.