Eddie Howe and Newcastle have reportedly hatched a cunning plan as they look to sign a France international in January.
The Magpies have completed two transfers already this month. Right-back Kieran Trippier joined from Atletico Madrid for £12million, with New Zealander Chris Wood soon following him to St James’ Park. Newcastle spent £25m to land the striker from Burnley.
On his transfer, which came out of the blue, Wood said: “It wasn’t an easy decision. I spent four and a half great years [at Burnley]. Every single year I really enjoyed myself there. My team-mates, the staff, the club as a whole was fantastic.
“To be honest, I wish I’d left when Burnley were further up the league, but that’s just how football is sometimes.
“For me, there was no bad blood at all. I enjoyed my time there.”
Newcastle still need to add to their squad as part of their bid to avoid relegation. And they could bring in French winger Ousmane Dembele from Barcelona.
The 24-year-old is liked by Blaugrana manager Xavi, and the Spaniard is keen to keep the player in Catalonia. However, he was recently left ‘speechless’ by Dembele’s wage demands, according to one journalist. That has put the attacker’s future into doubt once again as his current terms expire in the summer.
Newcastle are seemingly in pole position to sign Dembele as they have the necessary funds to give him a major contract. Sport Witness provide an update on the pursuit, while citing Spanish outlet Sport.
Newcastle in transfer talks with Barca
They claim negotiations are underway between the Magpies and Barca. Both clubs are eager to engineer a deal before the transfer window closes on January 31.
Howe sees Dembele as the potential ‘new hero’ on Tyneside and is therefore offering him this role. The boss is hoping this will help to get a deal over the line.
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The report makes a comparison between Dembele and Robinho, who was Manchester City’s first blockbuster signing after their big-money takeover.
But Newcastle fans will be hoping Dembele can be more of a success. Robinho left City in 2010 following a disappointing two-year spell in the Premier League.
Magpies set sights on Everton star
TEAMtalk understands Everton defender Yerry Mina has emerged as a January target for Newcastle.
The Magpies’ priority centre-back signing has been Sven Botman, but a deal is now off the table. Lille are unwilling to sell midway through a campaign.
As such, Newcastle are turning their attention to Colombia international Mina.
Newcastle do still have room in their squad for two domestic loans – and Mina could fill one of those berths.
But it remains to be seen whether Everton would be happy to potentially strengthen a rival who are only seven points behind them in the table and still sit in the bottom three.