American sensation Ricardo Pepi is poised to cross the Atlantic in January, though it appears admirers Liverpool and Manchester United have been caught on their heels.
The 18-year-old 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.
The Mirror revealed the wonderkid had emerged on the radars of both Manchester United and Liverpool. However, given Pepi’s rapid rise, the transfer race quickly became crowded.
Atletico Madrid were stated to be in the mix, along with German giant Bayern Munich. Wolfsburg, Brentford and Brighton were also on his trail.
Per the article, the MLS club were demanding the modest figure of just £7.5m, including add-ons. That would represent a veritable bargain for whichever side landed Pepi, and transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has shed light on who that will be.
Ricardo Pepi heading for Germany
Romano tweeted Wolfsburg are ‘pushing’ to sign Pepi and are the current ‘frontrunners’.
Negotiations are said to be ‘ongoing’ with FC Dallas over the final fee that will be paid.
Romano concluded the deal is a ‘work in progress’, though acknowledged Pepi is almost certain to move to Europe next month.
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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.
Man Utd star “killing his career” after Rangnick decision
Meanwhile, Jesse Lingard has been roundly questioned for his decision to remain at Old Trafford despite his minutes on the pitch falling off a cliff.
Lingard reportedly performed a U-turn and indicated his desire to stay at Old Trafford until at least the summer.
Rangnick’s arrival was reportedly instrumental in Lingard’s decision to fight for his place in the last six months of his contract. However, Lingard’s call has drawn fervent criticism from pundit Frank McAvennie.
He told Football Insider: “I really don’t get that [Lingard’s decision to stay]. He went to West Ham last year and set the world on fire, he was brilliant. He’s barely played this season and he wants to stay? I just don’t get that.
“He’s killing his career. Why would you not want to go and join another club and score goals again? You can’t tell me he’s happy being sat on the bench. He can’t be.
“I’ve said enough about Lingard not going to West Ham but I’m not sure I want him there if this is his attitude. I’m sorry, I just don’t get this at all. He’s not going to play ahead of Ronaldo, is he? It’s crazy. It makes no sense to me, I don’t understand what he’s doing.”