Nicolas Pepe

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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Europa League fallout for Arsenal, Chelsea

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With the Europa League final complete and Chelsea reigning supreme, there is plenty of fallout to come with the Blues back in the Champions League and Arsenal failing to seal the deal.

For Arsenal, the blow could be heavy. The club is strapped for cash now headed for its third straight season in the Europa League, and they allowed 28-year-old Aaron Ramsey to depart this summer for free, a financial failure that could have serious consequences.

According to a report by The Mirror, manager Unai Emery is hoping to overhaul the squad this summer, but his job will be difficult given the financial constraints of failing to reach the Champions League. He could be forced to sell assets to generate cash, and while Arsenal fans may be happy to see the likes of Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Ozil on the list of players who could depart this summer, Henrikh Mkhitaryan could reportedly also be sacrificed in the process. The report states that the wage bill may actually be a bigger obstacle to the club’s acquisition power than transfer funds, yet still there may only be around $50 million for Emery to play with this summer.

Players like Ozil and Mustafi could generate a decent cash flow, but they have underperformed the last few seasons, and Ozil especially has wages that could limit the club’s ability to shop him. The report states that Inter Milan could be a possible destination with possible new manager Antonio Conte hoping to boost the attack.


For Chelsea, their summer is also in question, despite securing Champions League play. The Blues have a potential transfer ban hanging over their heads, and the impending decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport will have an enormous impact on their proceedings over the next few months.

Regardless of the decision, however, it looks as if Eden Hazard has played his final game in Chelsea blue, and the rumors continue to churn of his departure for Real Madrid. English tabloids have stated that Hazard is off to Real Madrid for an enormous $145 million fee, although that seems unlikely as reports consistently stated over the last few weeks that Los Blancos were holding firm to their $125 million ceiling and that Chelsea would likely concede to that amount due to Hazard’s contract situation.

Should Chelsea be able to replace Hazard this summer and the ban is lifted or delayed, the Blues could look to a former Premier League star to take over. Philippe Coutinho has had a horrible first year at Barcelona, and it seems the club is shopping him to various interested parties. Chelsea could be a perfect landing spot for Coutinho and they could secure him far below market value after his disastrous season at the Camp Nou. Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo claims that Chelsea would be in pole position to secure Coutinho should the CAS allow the club to sign players this summer, and while Manchester United is interested, their lack of Champions League play this season sees them at a serious disadvantage.

Chelsea could also secure the permanent signatures of current loanees Mateo Kovacic and Gonzalo Higuain whether the club is banned from transfer acquisitions or not, as they are both already registered with the club. Kovacic, a Real Madrid player out on loan, could likely be secured on a permanent deal separate from the Hazard negotiation. Higuain, meanwhile, may wait to see if Maurizio Sarri is confirmed as the Chelsea manager next season before he commits his future to Stamford Bridge.


According to Mundo Deportivo in a report that corroborates earlier reporting in the English tabloids, Manchester United is seriously considering a massive offer to free agent midfielder Adrien Rabiot. The Red Devils are reportedly set to offer Rabiot an $12.5 million signing bonus and wages of around $220,000 a week or about $11.5 million a season, which would match the demands he’s stuck to in negotiations over the past few months.

The report states that with other top clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus unwilling to meet his high financial demands, Rabiot could find United’s offer intriguing. Rabiot, a 24-year-old French midfielder, has had major character issues in the past at both the club and country levels, but his play on the field as a top box-to-box midfielder is helping offset the questions about his personality. Should Manchester United bring Rabiot on, he could directly challenge Paul Pogba for a spot in the team, or even serve as a Pogba replacement should he depart this summer as rumors have suggested over the past few months.


24-year-old Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe is a wanted man this summer, and while he has been linked with a move to Manchester United in recent weeks, Liverpool has also entered the fray, according to Sunday Times reporter Duncan Castles on the Team Talk podcast. Castles said that Liverpool “has been in contact” with Lille still waiting on anything official to come through. Castles says that Lille has been quite public about an asking price in the range of $89 million for the Ivory Coast international who just appears to be entering his prime.

Pepe scored 22 Ligue 1 goals this season which put him second on the campaign behind PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe. He helped Lille finish a stunning second in the league table, qualifying the club for Champions League play for the first time since 2012. Manchester United is in desperate need of reinforcements all over the pitch, but could miss out if Champions League play is a priority to Pepe who has never played in the competition. Still, Liverpool may pass on any players that cost such a hefty amount, as their squad is already one of the strongest in Europe and may not require such a massive cost to add missing pieces.

Transfer rumor roundup: Pepe to Arsenal, Lo Celso in demand

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Here’s the Tuesday morning transfer buzz after a holiday weekend in America:

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Arsenal target Nicolas Pepe leaving Lille is beyond certain. Just ask his manager.

“Nicolas will leave not 100 percent, but 150 percent,” said Christophe Gaither. “Can a footballer be prevented from going to a great European team? It is impossible.”

Pepe’s 11 assists were joint-second in Ligue 1 this season, and only Kylian Mbappe scored more league goals than his 22.

The 33 combined markers mean Pepe was involved in nearly half of second-place Lille’s 68 goals.

Pepe, 23, will fetch a fortune on the transfer market. Is Arsenal willing to spend enough to give Unai Emery another big playmaker? More importantly, will they outspend teams like Inter Milan?

Meanwhile, Spurs continue to be linked with playmakers. In addition to potential interest in Newcastle United’s Ayoze Perez, the North Londoners are said to have put in a $67 million bid for Giovani Lo Celso.

The Real Betis starred on loan from Paris Saint-Germain and has a release clause of approximately $111 million, so there’s probably going to be some haggling here.

Manchester United and Real Madrid are also being matched with the Spaniard.

Finally, Edinson Cavani is ready to make a move to La Liga and join Atletico Madrid should Diego Simeone’s men sell Diego Costa. Atleti is also being linked with Leicester City’s Ben Chilwell, and just announced the $25 million signing of center back Felipe from Porto.

Transfer gossip: $91m for Arsenal target; Chelsea man in Pulisic swap?

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English youngsters? After signing Jadon Sancho, Borussia Dortmund wants all of them.

Well, not quite, but Goal is reporting that BVB asked for Callum Hudson-Odoi while discussing the potential transfer of Christian Pulisic to Chelsea.

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The report says that Chelsea wasn’t moved by the idea and is hoping to sign Hudson-Odoi to a new deal, but the idea of losing him for nothing could become scarier as January moves nearer.

Bayern Munich is also interested in the player, who turned 18 in November and has a goal and an assist in the Europa League amongst nine senior appearances for Chelsea.

Lille winger Nicolas Pepe is going to cost at least $91 million, according to director Luis Campos, a bit more than the $56 million Arsenal was reportedly ready to spend on the 23-year-old.

The right winger has 12 goals and seven assists in 18 Ligue 1 matches this season, and has scored against Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon, and Marseille. He also has three goals in 10 caps for the Ivory Coast.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is reportedly reaching back to his Premier League days in a bid to improve his strike force.

The Hoops may chase either Jermain Defoe or Andy Carroll in a move which would sure to take the fight for an eighth-straight Scottish championship.

Celtic has a one-point lead on Rangers and a three-point lead on Aberdeen, having played one less game. The club is also the highest-scoring team in the league, but with all due respect: either, when healthy, would light up the scoreboard in Scotland.