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Lille president wants Arsenal & PSG target Nicolas Pepe to stay in Ligue 1

14:44 BST 04/05/2019
Nicolas Pepe Lille Amiens 09152018
The 23-year-old is wanted by teams across Europe but his current president would rather see him stay in the French top-flight for a few more years

Lille president Gerard Lopez has suggested he would prefer star winger Nicolas Pepe to join Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

The 23-year-old is expected to leave the Ligue 1 outfit at the end of the season, as the president has already admitted the club are resigned to losing him this summer amid reports of interest from PSG, Arsenal and Bayern Munich among others. Meanwhile, the player's agent has revealed negotiations with interested parties has already begun, though he is yet to make a decision on his next step.

With 20 goals and 11 assists in the French top-flight, Pepe is the second most productive player in Ligue 1 this season behind PSG star Kylian Mbappe.

The prospect of Pepe joining the capital club to team up with Mbappe and Neymar has been raised several times in recent months, with even PSG coach Thomas Tuchel hinting he is open to signing the Lille hero.

According to Lopez, the competition for Pepe's signature has been heating up for some time, but he would be happy to see him remain in France for a few more years to continue his development, even if that means joining PSG.

"This is not a secret: we have had many approaches for Nicolas Pepe and we will never be able to match the salary he can get elsewhere," he said. "It's clear that he will go to a big club. 

"I want him to go to a club that gives him the means to go beyond what Lille can do. The country doesn't matter. This is not an invitation to PSG but I would be very happy to see Nico continue to develop in Ligue 1 and France. There is only one club [in France] that can afford to have a player like him. But he is heavily followed by teams in all leagues. 

"Nico is very thoughtful and has a very Cartesian approach to football, he will make the best choice."

Lille are second in Ligue 1 and sit six points ahead of Lyon with four games left to play.