Barcelona's interest in Nicolas Pepe gets stronger by the day. The Lille forward has impressed this season and the Catalan club have taken two decisions: follow him even closer and make direct contact with his people.
At the end of September, SPORT revealed Barça's interest in Pepe. At that point, it was the classic first move to to get information about his future and interest from elsewhere. A good relationship with Lille owner Gerard Lopez helped in a communication sense.
Pepe's form on the pitch has been tremendous since then and Barça have now stepped forward. The club are following him more closely than ever and have had someone at Lille's last five games.
Bojan Krkic, the father of Barça's former forward, has been tasked with following him at home and away. Sources have told SPORT that the reports on the 23-year-old have been excellent.
After finding out several clubs have asked about a transfer, Eric Abidal has moved to make direct contact with Pepe's agents and inform them of Barça's interest.
For now, though, neither Ernesto Valverde nor the club have decided on an attacker to join in the summer. It's well known that the club want a new forward. Pepe's one option.
The contact with Lille and the player allow Barça room to work. The French club want Pepe focused until the end of the season when they hope to secure a Champions League place.
Bayern Múnich, PSG all big Premier League sides have all shown an interest in a player whose price could rise as high as 60 million euros. It's more than Barça expected at first but reasonable in the current market.
A decision on Pepe's still not been taken, but winning more fans every day.