What's the story?
SSC Napoli is now close to signing highly-rated forward, Nicolas Pepe, from French club Lille. The 23-year-old was earlier reported to have been close to joining Manchester United.
In case you didn't know...
Nicolas Pepe made his professional debut in 2014 for Angers SCO and joined Lille only in 2017. The Ivory Coast winger was an instant hit with Les Douges as helped his side stay clear off relegation after an extremely poor season.
The second season saw Nicolas Pepe helping the Les Douges get back into Champions League for the first time in almost six years.
In his two seasons at the club, Nicolas Pepe has made 79 appearances and scored 37 goals across all competitions. His impressive performance last season had made him one of the hot prospects in European football with many teams vying for his signature.
Lille club President Gerard Lopez had earlier confirmed that the Ivory Coast winger will be leaving the club.
The heart of the matter
Napoli manager Carlo Ancellotti in his press conference confirmed that Napoli are close to signing Pepe from Lille. The Italian manager was speaking to the media at Napoli's training base in Dimaro in Northern Italy.
Carlo Ancelloti all but confirmed about the advanced talks with Pepe's agent:
I have spoken with the agents of Pepe, like all of those who have visited us here. If they are here, it is because we are interested, but I cannot say anything else, there is ongoing negotiation. From here to the close of the market anything can happen
The 24-year-old winger had been earlier linked with moves to Premier League giants Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Napoli has been very active in the transfer window having already confirmed signings of six first team-players.
The Iltalian side will face Liverpool in their next pre-season friendly in Murrayfield Stadiumin EdinburghPublished 26 Jul 2019, 07:57 IST