Leicester City are reportedly interested in signing Nicolas Pepe, despite the winger getting closer to a return to France with OGC Nice.

According to Foot Mercato, Premier League club Leicester City are interested in Nicolas Pepe, as Brendan Rodgers eyes late reinforcements to his attacking setup. The Ivorian winger has been made available and is inching closer to signing for French side OGC Nice.

Nicolas Pepe is unwanted at Arsenal, with Mikel Arteta disinterested in selecting him as a starter. The Ivorian has not started a Premier League game since the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace in October 2021, and the club are open to offers.

OGC Nice are reportedly closing in on signing the winger on loan from Arsenal without a buy option. While the talks have progressed smoothly, and the Gunners are reportedly open to doing a deal with the French side, the transfer has not been completed yet.

There could be a snag somewhere, possibly due to the player’s lofty wages, which Nice may not be able to pay in full. The impasse has allowed another team to enter the chase, with Leicester City reportedly keen on signing the Ivorian winger from Arsenal.

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Leicester City are one of the few clubs that have not yet signed an outfield player in this window. There are reported board-level problems that have prevented Brendan Rodgers from strengthening his squad.

Additionally, before the window shuts, the Foxes could lose key players, such as Youri Tielemans, Wesley Fofana and possibly even James Maddison. Signing Pepe could offset some of the frustrations at the club, as the Ivorian could revive his career in the Premier League under Rodgers.

Whether the interest has any weightage cannot be determined now, and whether the Foxes want him on loan or permanently remains to be seen. However, it could open the door for Arsenal to use Pepe as a bargaining chip, as they remain interested in Tielemans.

The Gunners could be preparing an offer for Tielemans, and if Leicester’s interest in Pepe is concrete enough, the two clubs could work out a deal differently. There could be the possibility of a swap deal, which would offset the loss of a valuable player on the cheap for both parties.

If the Foxes want a standalone deal, then Arsenal could look to sell him outright to their Premier League rivals rather than agreeing on a loan move. For now, Pepe is closely linked with Nice and could still complete the move.

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