Premier League • England

Newcastle dealt blow as bid to prise Liverpool star is hindered by secret clause

James Marshment
Naby Keita, Divock Origi, Jordan Henderson Liverpool training

Newcastle’s hopes of persuading Liverpool into selling Divock Origi have suffered a blow amid reports of a secret contract clause that could extend his stay at Anfield.

Eddie Howe’s side kicked off their January window with the capture of Kieran Trippier. The full-back arrives in a deal from Atletico Madrid on the highest contract in Newcastle United’s history. However, that is expected to be the first of many for the Toon.

Indeed, very much hope of Howe’s agenda is strengthening his central defence and his attack. With regards a defender, they have submitted an improved second bid for a highly-rated Ligue 1 star.

As for a striker, they have been linked with a number of names. To that end, Brazil striker Gabriel Barbosa is emerging as a potential option.

However, the Magpies may instead look closer to home. Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is understood to be one man in the frame. His giant wages and questionable attitude, though, make the deal something of a gamble for Howe.

Alternatively, Newcastle are more likely to pursue a deal for Origi. The Belgian has proved himself a more than useful striker when called upon by Liverpool.

Origi’s has cult-hero status at Anfield for his role in their 2019 Champions League victory. However, he remains very much a fringe player.

Indeed, he is yet to start a Premier League match this season, making just three appearances from the bench.

And with his contract due to expire at the end of the season, a move away looks increasingly on the cards.

As such, a report on Friday claims Liverpool value the striker at just £7m – a fee easily within their reach.

However, the issue for Liverpool is that they remain without cover for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for a number of weeks. The pair, currently away at AFCON, will be absent until the end of January.

Klopp hesitant on Divock Origi sale

As such, Jurgen Klopp is reluctant to sanction his sale towards the back end of the month, if at all.

Now, a report in the Daily Express throws a new spanner in the works for the Magpies.

Newcastle attempting to pinch Origi from Liverpool

Divock Origi has interest from Italy but Newcastle United are ready to try and sign the Liverpool striker

They report that a secret clause in Origi’s deal will see his contract automatically extended if he makes a select number of starts this season. And while that number is not specified, Newcastle fear he could trigger that total some time this month.

As it stands, Divock Origi has made four starts so far this season in all competitions.

And should an extension be triggered, that could hinder Newcastle’s efforts to sign the player in a cut-price deal.

Furthermore, Sky Sports now claim it is likely the striker will wait until the summer to assess his options.

Howe dismisses Tripper claims

Howe, meanwhile, has rejected claims that Trippier has only moved to St James’ due to the huge salary on offer.

“I am really pleased to welcome Kieran to Newcastle United,” Howe said. “I have long admired his abilities and have followed his career. So when the opportunity arose to secure him, we didn’t hesitate.

“A lot of hard work has gone into planning for the January transfer window long before the month began. It is clear in how quickly we have been able to complete this move.

Addressing the perception that Trippier has signed for the money, Howe said: “Kieran hasn’t come for the financial benefits of the contract.

“He’s come for the club and for the challenge that the team faces at the current time. He also sees the longer-term vision, so I think that’s a massive thing for the football club.

“Hopefully with his signing, other players around the world will potentially look at that and share his dream and his vision for what he sees. That’s a big thing for us.”

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