Liverpool are said to be furious after reports in France claimed they were in “concrete negotiations” over a deal to sign Lille forward Nicolas Pepe.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are yet to make a summer signing this summer, after a busy 2018, though they are expected to complete a deal for teenage centre-back Sepp van den Berg some time soon.
And reports on Tuesday evening tipped them to follow up the capture of the young Dutchman by forking out a near club-record fee of €80m (£71.7m) for highly-rated Lille star Pepe.
The highly-rated Lille star has been continually linked with a move to Merseyside, although Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan are also said to be in the running for the player’s signature.
But according to RMC Sport’s Head of Football Mohamed Bouhafsi a move to Liverpool is on the cards.
“This is an €80m situation. So it is a situation that needs time and calm,” Bouhafsi said in an interview with Get French Football News.
“What I can say is that there are very concrete discussions with Liverpool. Discussions that are not even denied by Lille, at Lille they don’t deny the very concrete interest and discussions from and with Liverpool.
“I know that Jurgen Klopp adores Nicolas Pepe’s profile, he brings a lot of speed and he is made to play in England, with quick transitions and an exceptional ability to counter-attack,” he said.
“Discussions have been had with Liverpool, who have a very profound interest. The other thing that I know is that Nicolas Pepe is at AFCON and wants a couple of days to make his decision.
“It needs time, because Nicolas Pepe is asking for time, and we have to respect the player’s wishes, who wants to concentrate on his national team.
“And don’t be surprised if other clubs dive into the race in the coming days, at Lille, I’m told that they are anticipating other Premier League clubs to get involved. It is not unthinkable.”
Bouhafsi is the same source that revealed Fabinho’s switch to Anfield last summer.
However, the Liverpool Echo say that the Reds are ‘furious’ over the speculation and have dismissed it as ‘pure lies’.
Sporting director Michael Edwards was in contact with Lille earlier in the month to say there was ‘zero interest’ from Liverpool to make a deal happen and that he was unsure where the reports were coming from.
Liverpool feel they are being ‘used’ to increase interest in the Ligue 1 forward and they have made it abundantly clear they ‘will not be taking any interest’ in the player.
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