Chelsea have enquired about the availability of Porto winger Pepe, according to reports in Portugal – but the answer might not have been to their liking.
It could be a busy end to the transfer window for Chelsea, who have already signed Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella, among others. Several items are still on their checklist.
For example, they are working to bolster their attack. In that regard, they have been looking into deals for Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Everton winger Anthony Gordon.
But another attack-minded player on their radar has been Pepe. According to Portuguese outlet Record, Chelsea have made an enquiry about the 25-year-old.
Pepe joined Porto from Gremio in his native Brazil last year. During his debut season in European football, he managed six goals and the same number of assists from 42 games in all competitions.
Mainly a left-sided player, he grew in prominence after the sale of Luis Diaz to Liverpool in January. Subsequently, he has caught the attention of Chelsea, possibly providing him with his own route to the Premier League.
According to Record, though, the response from Chelsea’s enquiry is that Porto will not let Pepe leave for less than his €70million release clause, which currently equates to around £59million.
It would be a high price to pay, but Chelsea have strong backing from new owner Todd Boehly and are willing to spend big on other targets. Sterling, Koulibaly and Cucurella have not come cheap and nor would Gordon, for example.
Pepe, too, would be a major investment if they are to prise him out of a contract with Porto that is due to run until 2026.
Price might be too steep for Chelsea to sign Pepe
Realistically, though, how much do Chelsea need him? They are said to be confident of wrapping up a deal for Gordon from Everton; that would reduce their need for another winger.
Of course, potential departures for Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech could complicate the situation. But Chelsea seem to have enough cover after adding Sterling and pursuing Gordon.
Hence, they would have to be really sure of their desire to sign Pepe if they were going to commit to another payment surpassing £50million.
After only one season in Europe, in which he was useful but not particularly prolific, perhaps his signing would be too much of a risk.
That said, Gordon’s statistics with Everton do not make for the best reading either. Yet that has not discouraged Chelsea in their pursuit of him.
Hence, it will be interesting to see if there are any further developments regarding Pepe and Chelsea.