Why Everton should be slightly concerned by Nicolas Pepe’s AFCON performances – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…

As reported earlier in the week by The Telegraph, Everton are interested in signing Lille forward Nicolas Pepe.

The Ivory Coast international has spent his summer playing in Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations with his country, but transfer speculation surrounding his future has gone crazy whilst he’s been away.

Liverpool and Inter Milan are said to be interested in signing the 24-year-old, who hit 22 Ligue 1 goals last term – only Kylian Mbappe scored more.

Check out some amazing tekkers in the video below…

It would reportedly take a club-record sum of £58.5m to lure Pepe to Goodison Park, which would be a real statement of intent from Marco Silva and the Toffees if they managed to get this one over the line.

Whilst his performances last season for Lille do more than enough to justify that price tag, his showings at the Africa Cup of Nations should slightly concern Everton in regards to splashing out such a huge fee for his services.

Nicolas Pepe Stats for Ivory Coast at AFCON 2019 via WhoScored - Why Everton should be slightly concerned by Nicolas Pepe's AFCON performances - opinion

As you can see, he didn’t do too well for the Elephants at the tournament – and that’s being fairly generous to him.

Along with Sadio Mane, Kalidou Koulibaly, Wilfried Zaha and others, Pepe arrived at the tournament as one of the most exciting players for fans to keep an eye on – he let them down significantly though.

Pepe failed to score a goal or even set one up in his three appearances, all of which were starts.

In the Ivory Coast’s final game, the 6 foot forward was left on the bench as he watched his country crash out in the quarter-finals at the hands of Algeria, and wasn’t even substituted onto the field at any point.

Why he didn’t start remains to be seen, but Herve Renard clearly didn’t think that Pepe could be of use to him in the hugely important quarter-final tie, which tells you everything you need to know about how the Ivorian star fared throughout the tournament.

Of course, you can’t discount his phenomenal 2018/19 campaign with Lille for the sake of three international games, but there is reason for Everton to be slightly concerned by the £58.5m man’s flat performances.

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