Liverpool have held discussions with Nicolas Pepe’s representatives, but not with Lille, claims Gerard Lopez, the president of the Ligue 1 club.
Pepe’s name has reportedly been a popular one in the transfer market, following a breakout season at Lille that saw him score 22 goals, good for second in Ligue 1, as well as add 11 assists, which was also second-best in the French top flight.
The 24-year-old Ivory Coast star’s performance helped Lille to a second place finish in Ligue 1 and has gottenh his name linked with the likes of Arsenal, Bayern Munich and the Champions League winning Reds.
Liverpool have reportedly denied interest in the player, but Lopez claims the Anfield outfit have discussed a possible move, albeit with Pepe’s agents and not with Lille.
"I know there have been discussions with the player, not with us as a club," Lopez told RMC Sport.
"Liverpool have players in those positions and I read that maybe there were players who could leave, or not.
"I am not particularly focused on Liverpool. But it is true that there have been discussions with agents."
But while Liverpool may have interest in Pepe, they are not the only ones, according to Lopez.
Currently on duty with Ivory Coast, who play Mali on Monday in the Africa Cup of Nations last-16, Pepe was the subject of a pair of offers from unnamed teams prior to the tournament in Egypt, according to Lopez.
But Pepe did not want to have to decide his future during the tournament and Lille have decided to respect his wishes.
"We had two offers before the Africa Cup of Nations," Lopez said. "We’ll see after that, my position was to see if we could not do something before it, we had two proposals before it, I had two clubs.
“The agents, with whom we have good relations, have asked us a little time to look at other options. It is not Lille who discusses alone.The player has of course the right to have preferences.
“At the beginning of the Africa Cup of Nations, he said that being in a competition like this and having your mind to something else, it's complicated.
“It is a big career choice. In his head there are things going on.
“We agreed to wait until the end of the Africa Cup of Nations.”