Newcastle United

Newcastle United

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Newcastle, West Ham join hunt for World Cup sensation after Arsenal urged to win race with offer

Azzedine Ounahi and Sofiane Boufal

Newcastle and West Ham have reportedly become part of the race to sign a Morocco World Cup player, although Arsenal have already been told to launch a bid for him.

Before the start of the tournament in Qatar, many predicted Morocco to face a tough test in qualifying from their group. After all, strong European nations Belgium and Croatia were in competition with them, alongside World Cup returnees Canada.

Morocco did brilliantly to qualify from their group in top spot, having held Croatia to a 0-0 draw and then beaten Belgium 2-0. They then overcame Canada with a 2-1 victory to qualify for the knockout rounds with an unbeaten record.

Walid Regragui’s team then caused an upset by beating Spain on penalties in the round of 16, before making more headlines with a 1-0 quarter-final victory against Portugal. That result saw them become the first ever African team to reach the last four of the World Cup.

Sadly for Morocco, the semi-finals is where their dream came to an end. Despite putting in an exciting performance against France, they lost 2-0 after goals from Theo Hernandez and Randal Kolo Muani.

Morocco had several breakout stars in Qatar. Goalkeeper Bono was one of their heroes, especially during the penalty shootout win over Spain. And the shot-stopper is now being linked with a move to either Newcastle or Aston Villa.

Midfielder Sofyan Amrabat was arguably Morocco’s most impressive player at the World Cup. He worked tirelessly all over the pitch, getting back and helping his defenders before setting up Morocco attacks.

Amrabat is now on Liverpool’s list of potential midfield signings, alongside big names such as Jude Bellingham and Enzo Fernandez.

Newcastle, West Ham interested in World Cup ace

And Amrabat’s midfield partner, Azzedine Ounahi, could come up against him in the Premier League in the near future. That’s because Ounahi, who currently plays for Angers in France, is on the radars of several English clubs.

Leicester and Leeds both like the look of the World Cup sensation, setting up potential January bids for him. But they will find it harder to land him now more teams are on his trail.

As per Goal, who cite reports coming out of Spain, Newcastle and West Ham have both shown interest in snapping Ounahi up. They are set to ‘battle it out’ over his signature.

While Angers would love to keep him, they know it will be hard to do so. Ounahi will want to challenge himself at a higher level and therefore could hand in a transfer request.

And Angers may as well sell this winter, when his transfer value is at its highest, rather than risk it falling if he gets injured or his form declines.

Arsenal told to sign Azzedine Ounahi

While Leicester, Leeds, Newcastle and West Ham will rival each other for Ounahi, Arsenal have been urged to sign him first.

Former Gunners star Ray Parlour sent Mikel Arteta his transfer advice earlier this month. He said: “Ounahi, the No.8, he is different class. Would I take him at Arsenal? Definitely!

“With that performance and what I’ve seen of him in this tournament, he’s not fazed by big games, the biggest game for his country maybe ever.

“He just looked so comfortable. He was always on the half-turn and looking to probe and try to get balls in behind the full-backs.”

Leicester could be the best fit for Ounahi. With Arsenal pursuing for Youri Tielemans, there might be a big gap in the Foxes midfield for Ounahi to fill.

In contrast, if he goes to Newcastle then he may end up sitting on the bench for most games. After all, Eddie Howe can already use the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton, Sean Longstaff, Joe Willock and Jonjo Shelvey in the centre of the park.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have been backed to make an audacious swoop for one of the world’s most expensive strikers.