Nicolas Pepe is a France born professional soccer player, he was born to Ivorian parents. He received a callup to the Ivory Coast national football team in November 2016. He made his debut for Ivory Coast in a friendly 0–0 tie against his birth nation France on 15 November 2016.
Nicolas Pepe Club Career
After making his debut in the lower leagues, Nicolas Pepe made his professional debut with Angers in November 2014, in a 1–1 Ligue 2 draw against Ajaccio.
On 21 June 2017, Pépé signed a five-year deal with Lille.
On 15 September 2018, Pépé scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, in the 3-2 Ligue 1 away win over Amiens SC.
Pépé was born in France to parents of Ivorian descent. He received a callup to the Ivory Coast national football team in November 2016. He made his debut for Ivory Coast in a friendly 0–0 tie against his birth nation France on 15 November 2016.
The 23-year-old Ivory Coast star is one of Europe’s most decisive players so far this season, catching the eye of Barcelona, Arsenal and Bayern.
Anyone with statistics that can go toe-to-toe with those of Barcelona star Lionel Messi or Paris Saint-Germain sensation Kylian Mbappe must be a man of special talent.
To that end, Lille attacker Nicolas Pepe finds himself in illustrious company when it comes to being decisive this season. With seven goals and four assists, he has helped contribute to 11 of LOSC’s 19 Ligue 1 strikes since the beginning of the campaign, with only the superstar duo boasting better figures in this regard.
It has been a real breakout campaign for the 23-year-old, who arrived at Stade Pierre-Mauroy from Angers last summer.
Team-mate Jose Fonte, a European Championship winner with Portugal and a veteran of over 150 Premier League games with Southampton, is not surprised by the interest and believes that Pepe has what it takes to go all the way.
“He can reach the highest level,” the centre-back told RMC. “He could play for a Real Madrid, a Barcelona – any team.
“But he has to continue to want to learn, to keep his feet on the ground and continue to work and progress every day. That’s the only way he can reach and maintain a high standard of play. But it’s clear he’s got the talent.”
Pepe has had to fight for the recognition that he deserves in Lille, having endured a tricky first season with the club. He was deployed by Marcelo Bielsa as a centre forward due to a lack of recognised options in that position but has emphatically proven that his best position is on the wing, where he has the opportunity to be more direct and can utilise his searing pace.
Indeed, his attributes have seen him likened to Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who also spent a period with LOSC but more pertinently excelled under the tutelage of Lille boss Christophe Galtier at Saint-Etienne, where he was refined into the threat he is today.
Pepe appears to be in the midst of similar progress and is content in France’s north, having turned down the opportunity to move to Lyon in the summer.
“I’ve not finished what I have to do here, although OL is a club you normally don’t turn down,” he revealed to L’Equipe in September. “I have a well-defined career plan.
“In terms of efficiency, I’m in the middle of a very big step, at a very good level. But I think I can do even better.”
Galtier may be trying to iron out the flaws in the player’s offensive game, as he achieved so spectacularly with Aubameyang, but he is also working on his defensive qualities, too, as Fonte pointed out.
“He must continue to improve certain aspects of his game, such as his defensive work and tactical side, because going forward he’s very strong. But there’s another, defensive aspect of the game,” the centre-back explained.
“We work with Nicolas, coach Christophe Galtier most of all, to get him into the right defensive positions. If he gets into the right place defensively, that can help the transition into attack. These are the little things that will get him to the very top, and that where he has to be in two or three years.”
The coach, too, is confident that he will reach such a platform.
“He’s well-guided with respects to his family life and his professional life,” Galtier said. “He’s spoken to sporting director Luis Campos, who has worked with world-class players in the past. All this has come naturally to him.”
While there have been warnings of a downturn in form, there have been few signs of it manifest on the field, either individually or as a team, with Lille having charged to second in Ligue 1.
Maintain this level and they will be in the Champions League next season – and that is surely where Pepe will spend much of his career, rubbing shoulders with Messi and Mbappe on a weekly basis.
Nicolas Pepe Net Worth
According to Telefoot (via Metro), Lille have slapped a whopping £72 million price-tag on Arsenal target Nicolas Pepe.
The Gunners are keen to secure the services of the Ivorian international in the upcoming transfer window because of his consistent performances in the French top flight.
However, flushing out £72 million on Pepe is no less than a gamble. But, considering his growing reputation, is he really worth the gamble for the North London giants?
Is Nicolas Pepe worth the fuss for Arsenal?
Pepe has been a consistent performer for Lille after initially joining the club last summer. He had an impressive debut campaign with Les Dogues that saw him score 13 goals and muster five assists in 36 matches, which was crucial as they narrowly avoided relegation.
But, Pepe has been performing at a whole new level this season, having already been involved in 19 goals in just 18 league matches, making him one of the most productive attackers in Europe’s top league this campaign. Pepe’s phenomenal performances have helped Lille climb up to second in the Ligue 1 table.
While digging into Pepe’s statistics, we found that the Ivorian international has averaged over four dribbles per game, more than any other Arsenal player this season.
Pepe’s dribbling ability could be useful for Unai Emery as he lacks the services of a reliable winger, who can easily take on defenders in the final third.
Furthermore, Pepe is a productive attacker as his impressive scoring tally would suggest. But, what makes him such a nuisance in front of goal is his threat in the attacking third, as he has attempted 3.4 shots per game, a tally only bettered by Nabil Fekir and Kylian Mbappe this season.
Arsenal, in that regard, have lacked the productivity from their attackers. Aside from two strikers in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, most of the attackers have failed to find the back of the net on a consistent basis.