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Chelsea Opinion: Blues should go all out to sign Nicolas Pepe in the summer

According to the Sun, Chelsea have joined the race for £50 million-rated Lille winger Nicolas Pepe, with reports claiming that the Blues are set to go head to head in a transfer tug of war with Man United and Arsenal over the Ivorian international in the summer.

Chelsea are hoping to have their transfer ban lifted or delayed and have set their sights on the promising 23-year-old, as they start to plan for life without Eden Hazard.

Real Madrid have stepped up their interest in the Belgian ace and he might as well head for the exit door this summer after refusing to sign a new deal at Stamford Bridge. (h/t Sun)

Pepe, who joined Lille from Angers in the summer of 2017, has established himself as a hot property in European football and his consistently impressive performances in the Ligue 1 this season has put him on the radar of some of the top clubs across the continent.

The 23-year-old Ivorian has netted 19 goals and has assisted a further 13 from 32 appearances in the French top flight, which has prompted Chelsea to identify him as a long-term successor to the throne of Hazard.

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To put things into perspective, Chelsea should not hesitate to spend big on Pepe in the summer, as the potential sale of Hazard to Madrid or any other top club would allow them to recoup the money.

Pepe is currently one of the most sought-after young talents in Europe and the acquisition of the the Ivorian would undoubtedly be a massive coup for the Blues following the capture of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund in January.

A left-footed attacker known for his pace, power, agility, sharpness, vision and athleticism, Pepe is at his best when deployed in an inverted role out wide on the right.

He combines his technical abilities with his raw power and exceptional dribbling skills to cut inside from the flanks, where he fancies a shot on goal or combines with his teammates to create openings.

The Ivorian is not a particularly good crosser but he boasts of a remarkable eye for a pass and has the ability to catch the opposite flat-footed with subtle flick-ons, layoffs and defence-splitting through balls.

An intelligent attacker with a good understanding of the game, Pepe can also cause problems with his movement off the ball, often drawing the defenders out from their positions to allow others to pull the strings, though he is more than capable doing that himself.

Pepe has a pass accuracy percentage of 78.1, including 1.9 key passes, 3.2 shots and 2.7 dribbles per game in Ligue 1 this season, figures which speak volumes of his worth as a potent attacker with well-rounded attributes.

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Although Willian and Pedro have enjoyed a decent run this season, both the attackers are on the other side of 30, which means that they are not going to carry on for much longer.

The Blues have an amazing talent in Callum Hudson-Odoi and the arrival of Pulisic in the summer is sure to bolster their ranks but the addition of Pepe would add that cutting edge to a Chelsea attack that has struggled to unlock stubborn defences in the Premier League.

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With so many big clubs circling around like sharks, Pepe is going to be a man in demand this summer and Chelsea will have to work very hard to beat off competition and strike a deal for the Ivorian.

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