Everton Could Face Liverpool Competition for Nicolas Pepe Despite Club Protestations
Liverpool and Everton just might be set for a Merseyside transfer battle for coveted Lille and Ivory Coast forward Nicolas Pepe.
24-year-old Pepe enjoyed a breakout 2018/19 campaign in France, where he scored an impressive 22 goals in Ligue 1 - only bettered by Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.
He has been touted for a big money move all summer, but The Telegraph now report that Everton (who have been linked with all manner of forwards) have entered the mix by ‘expressing interest’ in the star who is rated at close to £60m.
Despite Lille president Gerard Lopez talking up interest from England, the official word from Liverpool is that the Champions League winners definitely aren’t interested.
However, RMC journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi is insistent Liverpool do want Pepe, while the Ivorian will speak to each interested team after the close of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Mario Lemina to Choose Man Utd Over Arsenal Due to Financial Package
Wantaway Southampton’s Mario Lemina will move to the club who offers him the most lucrative financial package this summer, putting Manchester United ahead of Arsenal in pursuit of the midfielder.
Earlier in the week, United were reported to have been granted permission by Southampton to speak to the Gabon international, though the Gunners are also interested in him because of his bargain price tag of sub £20m.
90min.com understands that Lemina, who currently earns £65,000-a-week at Southampton, is looking to find the most lucrative deal, thus giving United the advantage over Arsenal because of the financial restrictions the Gunners have placed on themselves this summer.
Unai Emery’s side are operating with a transfer budget of just £45m and have a number of high earners they will need to offload first in order to compete.
In an interview with France Football, Lemina discussed his next steps calling Champions League football a ‘bonus’ rather than a necessity.
Arsenal Could Hijack Everton Move for Barcelona Brazilian Star Malcom
Meanwhile, the Gunners are looking to hijack Everton’s move for Barcelona forward Malcom.
According to RMC, Everton are set to make an offer in excess of €35m (£31m) for the little-used Barcelona forward, who moved to Camp Nou from Bordeaux last summer.
The report clams that Marco Silva has made the player a ‘priority’ as he aims to add attacking bite to his team for 2019/20.
However, Arsenal - who are also keen for another wide attacking player this summer and have been heavily linked with Wilfried Zaha - are monitoring the situation. According to the report, the Gunners are in discussions with the player's entourage but have yet to make an official offer.
It is though that 22-year-old Malcom is seen as dispensable by Barcelona, who are keen to raise funds through fringe player sales as they look to cap the summer with a move for Antoine Griezmann and possibly even Neymar.
Malcom scored four goals in 24 appearances in 2018/19, with most of his outings coming from the bench.
Gareth Bale Not Going to China as He Prefers Move to ‘Top Club’ in Europe
Gareth Bale’s future at Real Madrid remains a mystery. Despite continued protestations from the player’s agent that his client is not leaving his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu before its 2022 expiry,
Bale is clearly not a part of the club’s plans, with Zinedine Zidane and the Real Madrid hierarchy keen to offload him to offset a summer of big spending.
He has been touted for a return to England with Manchester United and Tottenham among those tangentially linked, but his wages, age and fitness issues seem to be deterrents on any deal.
According to MARCA, 29-year-old Bale - who earns €17m (£15m) a year - won’t be going to China either, despite recent reports.
They say that the four-time Champions League winner isn't considering moving to Asia this summer and that if he does have to leave Madrid, it will be for another ‘top club’ in Europe.
Best of the rest
Juan Mata turned down a £550,000-a-week offer from the Chinese Super League to stay at Man Utd (90min).
Arsenal are prepared to offer Calum Chambers, Carl Jenkinson and Mohamed Elneny in a new bid for Wilfried Zaha (Mirror).
Everton’s chances of signing Moise Kean from Juventus are slim despite making an opening €30m offer (Tuttosport).
England Under-21 star Ezri Konsa is set for a medical at Aston Villa ahead of his move from Brentford (Mail).
AC Milan are interested in 21-year-old Arsenal midfielder Krystian Bielik (Standard).
West Ham have been offered the chance to sign free agent Mario Balotelli as they continue the hunt for strikers (Telegraph).
Leeds want Burnley defender Ben Gibson to replace the departed Pontus Jansson this summer (90min).