Liverpool accelerate plans to sign Lille star who scored 23 goals last campaign

Liverpool and their league rivals Arsenal have both submitted offers for Lille star Nicolas Pepe.

Both sides have been heavily connected with the winger who is reportedly prepared to leave France this summer.

Nicolas enjoyed a productive season in France last year, netting 23 times and creating 11 assists.The forward is currently on holiday after representing the Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations.

But he could have a big decision to make about his long-term future when he returns.

According to L’Equipe, the Reds, Gunners and Serie A giants Inter Milan have all made offers for Pepe.Lille board are waiting to hear what the 24-year-old star’s preferred destination is before opening negotiations.

Napoli and Atletico Madrid are also keen on signing him. Lille would demand around €80 million (£72 million) including bonuses.

However, The Reds are not expected to splash out this summer transfer window.Reports have claimed Jurgen Klopp will only plan to replace any fringe players that depart the club.

But if Nicolas were to become available, Liverpool may be tempted to bring the star in to provide competition for Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

And he could be joined out of the Lille exit door by versatile defender Adama Soumaoro, who is interesting Crystal Palace.

Meantime, the REds have moved ahead of the Gunners in the pursuit of AS Nancy ace Bilel Hassaini this summer by making an offer for the French youngster, according to Foot Mercato.

Hassaini has drawn the interest of possible suitors by impressing in an attacking midfield role for his country at youth level.