Newcastle United are reportedly lining up a potential club-record move for highly-rated Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, who is also being chased by Arsenal.
After taking a relatively restrained approach in the January window, Eddie Howe and co look set to invest heavily in the Toon squad this summer, as they look to cement their place at the top of the Premier League.
Diaby has gained a reputation as one of the Bundesliga’s most exciting attacking players, so it would represent a major coup for Newcastle if they can get a deal over the line.
This season, the Magpies have enjoyed an incredible resurgence under Howe, with the North East club currently sitting in fifth place in the league table – just two points behind Tottenham with two games in hand.
Indeed, Newcastle are firmly in the race for Champions League football next season and also came close to lifting their first major trophy since 1955, reaching the League Cup final.
That has largely been thanks to the fine form of attacking players such as Joelinton, Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron and Alexander Isak – but the whole team have been impressive.
However, with fan favourite Allan Saint-Maximin being heavily linked with a move to Tottenham, his potential departure could leave a void in Howe’s squad and arguably, Diaby could be the ideal signing to replace him.
Newcastle ‘willing’ to make club-record offer for Diaby
According to the Northern Echo, Newcastle have reignited their interest in Diaby after coming close to bringing him in last summer, and have shown a ‘willingness’ to stump up a club-record fee this summer.
Indeed, the report claims that Diaby continues to be of significant interest, although his form with Leverkusen this season means it will remain difficult to engineer a deal when the transfer window reopens.
The forward, who is under contract until 2025, has scored 12 goals in all competitions this term, making him his club’s leading scorer, and has also contributed four assists.
As mentioned, Arsenal have also registered an interest in the France international, along with Paris Saint-Germain so the Tynesiders could have a bidding war on their hands this summer.
Diaby’s performances have helped Leverkusen climb to eighth in the Bundesliga table and reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League. As a result, the German club are understandably extremely reluctant to sell the 23-year-old.
The Northern Echo add that a €100m valuation (approx. £88m) has been rumoured for the winger and while that figure seems ‘somewhat fanciful’, there is clearly a determination within the Leverkusen hierarchy to recoup a big transfer fee for his services.
As a result, Newcastle would ‘almost certainly’ have to spend more than the £63m club-record fee that was shelled out to sign Alexander Isak in order to land Diaby, but there appears to be a willingness to do just that to land a marquee addition this summer.