Newcastle United are reportedly keen on a move for Ecuador winger Gonzalo Plata, who was a major target for Premier League rivals Leeds over the summer.
The 22-year-old Real Valladolid attacker played the full 90 minutes as his country won the opening game of the tournament by comfortably beating host nation Qatar 2-0 on Sunday.
Plata actually rejected the chance to join Manchester City in 2019 while at Ecuadorian club Independiente del Valle. He ended up at Sporting Lisbon but, after an initial loan spell, eventually joined Valladolid on a permanent deal over the summer after they secured a LaLiga return.
The 22-year-old has provided two assists in 10 appearances as Valladolid have made a solid start on their return to the Spanish top tier.
And now journalist claims Eddie Howe’s men are looking at Plata ahead of a potential January transfer.
Jones told GiveMeSport: “He’s 22 and ready to shine. He’s got pace to burn, he’ll mesmerise people with his trickery and he’s got a finish on him as well.
“Plata is one of those players you could watch for hours on end.
“Currently Plata plays for Real Valladolid and Newcastle United rate him already. But Brighton already have three Ecuadorians so might fancy their chances of adding another if things go well for him in Qatar.
“A game-changer, a man who can produce something out of nothing – he is exactly what the World Cup is all about.”
Summerville emergence could end Leeds’ Plata interest
Leeds were actually linked with a move for Plata during the summer as they chased a replacement for Raphinha.
However, with the Elland Road outfit fully aware the Brazilian would leave, they landed Luis Sinisterra from Feyenoord as attacking cover.
The emergence of Crysencio Summerville wide on the left has, however, given Jesse Marsch’s men another attacking threat from the wide positions.
With that in mind, Leeds could decide against renewing their interest in Plata, leaving the door open for Newcastle.
One of the main reasons for the links to Newcastle stems from the fact that sporting director Dan Ashworth snapped up Ecuador pair Moises Caicedo and Jeremy Sarmiento during his time at Brighton.
The Toon are not back in domestic action until December 21 when they take on Eddie Howe’s old side Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup fourth round.