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Nicolas Pepe: What they say in France about the star wanted by Arsenal, Barcelona

Lille sensation Nicolas Pepe has emerged as the hottest transfer property on the continent.

Pepe hit a hat-trick at Amiens last week in front of watching scouts from Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Arsenal. Having rejected a €30m move to Olympique Lyon last month, Pepe sees his next move beyond Ligue 1.

Here's just what some of football's biggest identities have said about the 23 year-old Ivory Coast international:

CHRISTOPHE GALTIER (Lille coach): "If as a coach, I had to lose Nicolas, I would be sad. But it's the reality of the transfer window and I'm working on other options if Nicolas has to leave. I would be very happy that he stays, like his teammates, everyone would be happy."

JOSE FONTE (Lille defender): "He will play for a big club for sure. He can play for Madrid, Barça and Manchester United. He just needs to go about it calmly."

BRUNO GENESIO (Lyon coach): "I have a little regret with Nicolas Pepe. But we had nothing to do with it, as much sportingly as financially, we really tried to do it (sign him), as I said. But it is important that the player really wants to come to Lyon - and it was not the case for him."

PATRICE SAUVAGET (Angers reserves coach): "Immediately, what is obvious with him is his innate qualities of speed and skill. And a very, very good left foot. He is someone who has a very good background. He is not hard to handle but must always fight a little this form of nonchalance he has. With him, the problem is that you never know what he's going to do. I do not even know if he sometimes knows what he's going to do! They are instinctual players."

GERARD LOPEZ (Lille president): "Everyone is talking about Nicolas but today we have seven or eight players on the team list that interest other clubs. There are concrete offers for Nicolas Pépé and other players. We do not push to sell him."

SAID CHABANE (Angers president): "He is a player who, if he continues on this trajectory, can do some great things. He is similar to a player like (Ousmane) Dembélé. I think that Dembélé has already earned back his price. I do not see why we wouldn't ask for this type of price for Nicolas Pépé."

OLIVIER FRAPOLLI (ex-US Orleans coach): "He arrived in all humility. He did not have the bad sides of a youth who explodes suddenly, polluted by an entourage. He was listening, with a good mentality. I always knew that his game would take off in L1."

SERGE LE DIZET (ex-Angers assistant coach): "When he arrived, we quickly spotted his talent. He can change a game on his own, either by scoring or by creating goals for others. He is very good in duels, with good ball control. He can play centrally, right and left. He has the potential to join a top club of L1, but also to play in England."

PIERRE MENES (French pundit): "At this rate, Pepe will be worth 50 million next summer."

PHILIPPE LECLERC (Angers director): "Nico knows what he wants, he knows especially what he does not want. For me, Nicolas is a dragster. He looks for depth, he goes fast with the ball, he is confusing. Beyond, he is charming and does not forget where he comes from. He can go very high."

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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