Nicolas Pepe Targeted by Chelsea as Blues Continue Search for Eden Hazard Replacement

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Chelsea have joined the list of European giants in the race to sign LOSC Lille star Nicolas Pépé at the end of the season.

The Blues are growing increasingly concerned that Eden Hazard will join Real Madrid this summer and they’re looking for replacements to sign when the transfer window reopens.

Although Christian Pulisic’s arrival from Borussia Dortmund has already been confirmed, The Mirror claims that Lille winger Pépé is the club’s top priority to replace Hazard next season.

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Chelsea first have to fight against a transfer ban which would leave them unable to sign new players until 2020, but Pépé will quickly become a serious target if their appeal is successful.

They will then have to go toe to toe with other clubs across the continent who want to sign Pépé this summer, including Bayern Munich who are looking for a successor for Arjen Robben, Arsenal and most recently Italian club Inter.

The Ivory Coast international has been one of the breakout stars across Europe this season, scoring 19 goals and claiming 13 assists in Ligue 1.

Pépé’s quick rise to stardom has mirrored that of Chelsea’s Hazard prior to his move to Stamford Bridge in 2012.

The Belgium international first joined Lille as a youth player in 2005 and went on to make 194 appearances for their first team before overtaking Michel Bastos as the club’s record departure at £31.5m.

Pépé’s departure this summer is likely to set another new record for Lille as he has been slapped with a £70m price tag by the club’s top brass.

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