5 facts about Nicolas Pepe, interesting Everton and Newcastle United

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Not many footballers player for their country just two years after their professional debut.

If Everton and Newcastle fans are hankering for a player to enhance their immediate fortunes, 21-year-old Angers winger Nicolas Pepe is unlikely to elicit too much excitement.

Yet, he could well prove an astute signing in the long-haul. L’Equipe, cited by talkSPORT, claim Newcastle are ready to go toe-to-toe with Juventus, Lille, Monaco and Roma for his signature while France Football suggest a bid from the blue half of Merseyside is on its way to the southwest suburbs of Paris.

But why has Pepe suddenly crept onto the scene with January around the corner?

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1) He may only be two years into his professional career but Pepe is already a fully-fledged international, having turned out for the Ivory Coast in their goalless draw against his birth nation France in November.

He must have made an impression because Les Elephants coach Michel Dussuyer (below) included Pepe in his provisional AFCON squad. Though, due to the embarrassment of riches at the Ivory Coast’s disposal, the 2017 edition may come a little too soon for the 21-year-old.

Michel Dussuyer

2) With the majority of teams setting up with one bonafide centre-forward these days, wingers are increasingly relied upon to take the goalscoring burden off their shoulders. And that bodes well for Pepe, with only striker Famara Diedhiou contributing more than his two Ligue 1 goals this season.

3) According to The Chronicle, Pepe was nominated as one of the finest performers in the French third tier last season, his seven goals helping loan side Orleans to promotion.

4) Angers wasted no time attempting to secure the youngster’s future, drawing up a new deal purported to commit him to the club until 2019. It seems unlikely he’ll fulfil his contractual duties, however.

5) Gone are the days of Lyon’s Ligue 1 domination. After winning seven titles in a row between 2002 and 2009, Bruno Genesio’s side are a long way off the pace these days, reduced to plucking talented youngsters out of the unknown before selling them on for a profit.

And, according to France Football, they’re keen on adding Pepe to their ranks in January, tabling a £5.1 million bid. Who knows how much longer Corentin Tolisso will stick around for?

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