Manchester United and Liverpool are facing an almighty scrap to sign American centre-forward Ricardo Pepi, who is being hailed as the country’s No 9 for the next decade, per a report.
Ricardo Pepi, 18, burst onto the scene in 2021. The striker made his MLS debut in 2019, though cemented his reputation as one of the country’s hottest prospects this season.
Pepi bagged 13 goals for FC Dallas and quickly became a regular feature in the USA national side.
Despite his tender age, Pepi – who was raised to support Mexico by his parents – has already notched three goals for the USA in just six matches.
The wonderkid had previously emerged on the radars of both Manchester United and Liverpool. However, according to the Mirror (citing CBS), that transfer race has quickly become crowded.
Atletico Madrid are now stated to be in the mix, along with German giant Bayern Munich. Wolfsburg, Brentford and Brighton are also known to be on his trail.
But what will give encouragement to all of his suitors is the modest fee FC Dallas would command for Pepi.
Bargain Ricardo Pepi fee revealed
Per the article, the MLS club are demanding the modest figure of just £7.5m, including add-ons.
That could represent a veritable bargain for whichever club rolls the dice. Indeed, American stars have increasingly begun to make their mark in European football in recent years.
Gio Reyna is excelling at Borussia Dortmund. Christian Pulisic shone in the black and yellow before joining Chelsea in 2019. Weston McKennie is also a regular at Juventus, and has courted interest from Fabio Paratici and Tottenham.
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Pepi could be the next American to cross the Atlantic, and his reputation back home will encourage suitors.
The article concludes that Pepi is viewed in his homeland as the USA’s ‘No. 9 for the next decade‘. His early form in the stars and stripes would suggest that tag isn’t misplaced.
Can Rangnick swing last-minute Chelsea steal?
Meanwhile, Manchester United have reportedly registered their interest in signing Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger, who will be out of contract at the end of the season.
Tuchel is keen for Rudiger to stay, but the powerful defender is exploring all options before deciding his future.
Spanish giants Real Madrid are said to leading the chase for Rudiger’s signature, although Tottenham are also keen. But now The Independent states that United have registered their own interest in the former Roma star.
Rangnick also knows the player well, having come across him during Rudiger’s time at Stuttgart. However, it looks like a forlorn chase for both United and Spurs – with a move to Spain most likely.
Rudiger is said to favour a switch to Real, as he does not want to play for one of Chelsea’s Premier League rivals.
The report adds that an ‘informal agreement’ has already been reached with Rudiger’s representative and Madrid following talks last month. But a contract has yet to signed.