Liverpool are closing in on a £70.9m move to sign Nicolas Peppe if L’Equipe is to be believed and his presence in the starting XI is an interesting prospect.
The French news outlet claims that the Merseysiders have matched Lille’s huge asking price of €80million (£70.9m) and outbid Inter Milan, who had offered an impressive £60m.
The Ivorian scored 23 goals and assisted 11 for the Ligue 1 outfit and would immediately add quality to Liverpool’s starting XI if Jurgen Klopp decided to use him as a starter.
Some believe that he will be used as a bench player but as the Liverpool Echo reported last month, Klopp will not sanction big money moves for players he doesn’t believe are guaranteed starters.
With that in mind, we have to assume Pepe would be a starter but given that the German already has three world-class forwards at his disposal, it’s possible the Reds might shake up their formation or system next season.
On several occasions, Liverpool deployed Roberto Firmino in a deeper, more creative role to allow for more big chance creation in the absence of a natural playmaker.
This might again happen and if it does, Klopp can play Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane as a centre forward and select Pepe on whichever wing is vacated.
Of course, there tends to be a lot of interchange between Liverpool’s front three which means that Pepe’s starting position would not count for much if he switched mid-game to a different flank.
4-3-3: Alisson, Robbo, van Dijk, Gomez, Trent, Fabinho, Hendo, Firmino, Mane, Salah, Pepe.