Everton are desperate to sign a wide forward ahead of the 2019/20 campaign and have been linked with three players of note – Nicolas Pepe of LOSC Lille, Malcom of Barcelona and David Neres of Ajax. The Toffees have suffered nothing but disappointment, however, after being rejected by Neres, pulling out of the race to sign Malcom and now pulling out of the race to sign Pepe.
According to Phil Kirkbride of the Liverpool Echo, Everton are turning their attentions elsewhere as Pepe will cost too much money to sign. The Toffees still have a number of positions to fill this summer, but they may need to sell existing players before they can buy new recruits. Lille rejected bids of £45m in March and requested £72m for the 24-year-old’s signature.
Everton’s club-record signing is Richarlison (£50m from Watford in 2018), but Pepe would smash that figure by 44%. The Ivorian international scored (22) and created (11) 33 goals in 38 Ligue 1 games last season, creating 70 chances, making 101 successful dribbles (55%) and whipping in 74 crosses with 23% accuracy.
Pepe would improve the Everton squad, but the Merseysiders have been unable to bring his asking price down to an affordable level.