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Do Manchester City need Lille forward Nicolas Pepe?

Lille striker linked with January move

FC Porto v Lille - Algarve Cup Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Manchester City have been widely reported to be interested in signing Lille forward Nicholas Pepe. The 23-year-old has been in inspired form for the Ligue 1 side thereby helping in the club’s resurgence this season.

With eight goals to his name and another five assists, the Ivory Coast international is one of the best forwards in the French top flight. He is the best performing player in Christophe Galtier’s side, who sit second on the table behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain. His goals and assists have been instrumental to the side, and he has contributed to 61% of the team’s total goal haul of 21 so far.

It is understandable then that he is being linked to some of the best clubs in Europe. The likes of Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona are all reported to be interested in the player. That includes Manchester City. When asked about the rumours, the player responded that it was nice to know.

Some reports have it that the player could be on the move as early as January, but the club has refuted such claims. That does not rule out a summer move for the player who has now been rated to be worth about £44 million.

But do City need another forward?

Of course, you can never have too much of a good thing. With an attack boasting of some of the best players on the continent, City are not lacking in this department. With two top strikers and and three natural wingers, City are well-stocked upfront. When the midfield is filled, Bernardo Silva can also be utilised as a winger as was the case last season.

That adds to the best attack in the league. An attack that consists of Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sane, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling. The fact that most of these players are still very young means they will be there for quite some time.

Again, while adding more quality is always a good thing, the need of the hour is the defensive midfield. The club have been linked with some options like Ajax’s Frenkie De Jong and Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele. Priority should be given to the acquisition of one of these targets.

The Sky Blues have been flying all season but a few results act as a reminder that the team could be better. Lyon came to the Etihad Stadium and defeated City in the opening match of the the Champions League. As the season progresses, the competition will become tougher. More games also mean some players must be given a deserved rest between games to maintain a cutting edge.

Fatigue could be one of the biggest problems a team can face in the latter stages of the competition. Resting players like Fernandinho could prove crucial. It is vital for key players to be at their best when facing some of the best sides on the continent.

To maintain the team’s top form, there should be enough quality backup for every position. At the moment, the holding midfield is still lacking that backup. That is where all attention should go rather than overstocking the front line. Some players are already struggling for game time. Brahim Diaz, for example, is still waiting for his chance in the well-studded front line while even well established players still have to make do with a place on the bench on a regular basis.