Newcastle United will “almost certainly” meet with Empoli to discuss the signing of Kristjan Asllani in the coming week, according to an Italian reporter.
Asllani has just enjoyed a breakout season in Serie A. Empoli were newcomers to the Italian top-flight in 2021-22, but finished in a comfortable 14th place. Along the way, Asllani made 23 appearances in the league.
It was his maiden season in the first tier, or indeed any league after his only appearance the previous campaign came in the Coppa Italia. The defensive midfielder took his chance, though.
His performances have alerted both AC Milan and Inter, who finished first and second in Serie A respectively. It is proof that the big clubs believe in his potential.
In the Premier League, Newcastle also have ambitions to establish themselves nearer the top. After their first January spend under their Saudi owners, they climbed away from the relegation zone to finish 11th.
Now, hopes are high for a further summer of progress in terms of their playing squad. Then, they can set out their targets for the new campaign.
According to Alfredo Pedulla, Newcastle also have their eyes on Asllani as a potential target. In fact, they have asked for a meeting, which is now expected to take place this week.
Within it, they would hope to understand the possible terms of a transfer for the 20-year-old. It has already been reported that he would prefer to stay in Serie A, but he is not closing any doors.
Therefore, Newcastle may have a chance of prising him away from Empoli.
Alternatively, Inter would like to accommodate him into their squad immediately. Milan, on the other hand, could take him but lend him back to Empoli for another season, which would be preferable for his current club.
But Newcastle now have the finances to outmuscle clubs of any calibre – even two with Champions League football on offer and major pedigree behind them. Whether they can win the race for Asllani should become clearer after the meeting.
Asllani would hope to fare better than recent Serie A signings at Newcastle
It has been a while since Newcastle dipped into the Italian market. Their last Serie A signing came when they took Valentino Lazaro on loan from Inter for six months in January 2020. He made 15 appearances for the club.
In terms of a permanent arrival, the most recent from Italy was full-back Achraf Lazaar, from Palermo in 2016. His impact was minimal, with just 10 appearances and three loan spells away.
Therefore, Asllani would be hoping to make a better impression if he was to join Newcastle. He would also be ready to write his own story as the first Albanian player in the club’s history.
Midfield is an area they could be looking to reinforce in the summer. Their main options there include Bruno Guimaraes, Sean Longstaff, Isaac Hayden, Joe Willock and Jonjo Shelvey.
Under the current ownership, Newcastle will be trying to improve every aspect of their squad. Finding opportunities for the long-term, like Asllani, is important to them.
However, perhaps there will be an appetite for them to bring in more household names too.