Player focus: Nicolas Pepe

Nicolas Pepe’s star has been on an upward trajectory since last season. The 23-year-old Ivory Coast international is proving his mettle week in week out with his performances for Lille in Ligue 1.

So impressive has been his development that he has drawn comparisons with former Lille stars Eden Hazard and Gervinho. Pepe scored 13 goals last year and added four assists, a very impressive return for someone of his age at that level of football.

This season has seen him pick up from where he left off and he has been chipping in with the goals if not making assists for his teammates. Today we shall take a look at how effective the Ivorian has been since the turn of the new season using stats from WhoScored.


Pepe has managed to score a total of nine goals in 14 appearances for Lille and country. Five of those goals have come from eight Ligue 1 appearances, whilst three of those came in friendly fixtures both for club and country. He has also scored one goal in the Coupe de France.

The youngster has also demonstrated that he is not just a good player, but a very effective team player. His three assists in the league is a clear demonstration of his commitment to the side. You could argue that this comes naturally by virtue of his position, but when you consider his age and consistency over last season, you realise that there is more to the man than just one excellent season.

Most importantly in his development is his ability to influence games. To this end, the youngster has won three Man of the Match awards in his last eight outings in Ligue 1. This is most definitely a very impressive return and what is more is the fact that he averages 4.8 shots per game which is likely to improve as he matures.

Way forward

It is more than clear that the youngster is getting better with each and every passing week, and assuming that he features regularly, he has the potential to score 20 goals and make a number of assists. This will be a major improvement by any standards, the only question that begs is whether he will be up to the task.

Already there are rumors linking him with moves away to Arsenal, Lyon, Everton, and Sevilla and it is only time that will tell where he will end up.