Newcastle United are apparently one of many clubs interested in a Ligue 1 star, but like many of their targets, may have to wait to sign him.
The January transfer window is getting ever closer and Newcastle are the club to keep an eye on. They were, of course, recently taken over by a Saudi-backed consortium. Financially, they can afford just about anyone now.
But while in a relegation battle, their plans to lure elite stars may have to be put on hold. Still, in the short-term, they should be able to find some decent players willing to join them for their journey.
One player to have emerged onto their radar, according to Foot Mercato, is Lens midfielder Seko Fofana.
Formerly a Manchester City academy player and Fulham loanee, Fofana has been impressing since he left English football. He enjoyed a productive four-year spell with Udinese before joining Lens in 2020.
He made 32 appearances between league and cup in his first year with Lens. Then, so far this season, he has featured on 13 occasions, scoring three goals.
On many of those appearances this term, he has also captained his side. Fofana is becoming increasingly important to Lens.
They have him under contract until 2024, but his performances are turning heads. According to Foot Mercato, a number of clubs are looking at him.
Newcastle are one of the main contenders the report mentions. Fofana could bring new qualities to their midfield, which is one of many areas they are aiming to revamp.
Newcastle to bid for Manchester United's Dean Henderson in January
Newcastle United will reportedly bid for Manchester United's Dean Henderson in January, with more updates on Anthony Martial and Philippe Coutinho.
In addition, they are said to be rivalling a few unnamed English clubs. Further afield, their target is being watched by Marseille, AC Milan and Atalanta.
But Newcastle may have a financial advantage if they can convince Fofana to join. Even so, the difficulty in this pursuit may be persuading his club to sell.
Lens are under no pressure to cash in on the 26-year-old. It would take a “huge” offer to make them sell Fofana in January.
However, Newcastle are capable of making such a bid should they desire. Alternatively, they could wait until the summer, by which point their status as a Premier League club or otherwise will be clear.
As long as they stay up, they should be able to plan for a stronger future and may incorporate Fofana into those plans.
Newcastle rival Juventus for midfielder
The Belgium regular has amassed well over 100 senior caps for his country. Despite being 32, he remains an elite operator. However, his current deal with the German giant expires next summer.
Juventus were reported to be a serious contender to bring him to Italy. But Newcastle have reportedly laid waste to their hopes.
TuttoJuve states forging a deal for Witsel in January is a very real possibility. Whether that would be a cut-price sale or a pre-contract agreement, however, isn’t clear.
Nonetheless, Newcastle have leapfrogged their Italian rivals by making an ‘indispensable offer’.
They have reportedly put an offer of ‘€10m per season’ on the table. That dwarfs the ‘€7m per season’ that Juve were prepared to pay.
The extra cost, plus second thoughts about his advancing age has resulted in Juventus removing themselves from the equation. That has left Newcastle in pole position, but whether Witsel will sign on the dotted line cannot be determined at this stage.
One ray of hope for Newcastle could stem from Witsel’s transfer history. The article notes he has accepted unusual moves in the past when high salaries were on offer. Witsel previously played in China with Tianjin Tianhai and Russia at Zenit St Petersburg.