Newcastle United have entered the race for Lille star Renato Sanches, although they are rivalling a club of Champions League stature for his signature, according to reports.
Sanches has been linked with a move to the Premier League for quite a while. It would be his second chance at succeeding there after a previous disappointing spell with Swansea City. But the Portugal international has got his career back on track in France.
He helped Lille win the Ligue 1 title last season and has consequently become a commodity in the transfer market again. He has been tipped to become the next Jorge Mendes client to join Wolves, for example. Liverpool and Arsenal have also been linked.
Sanches has vowed to make the best decision for his career after admitting he is aware of some transfer interest. He namechecked Arsenal and AC Milan as two clubs that have been the subject of gossip.
But now he has a new suitor, according to Calciomercato. The Italian source, referring to Milan’s pursuit of the player, has added Newcastle into contention. In fact, they have asked for information in recent weeks.
The report claims Mendes wants to orchestrate a move for his client in January. The destination remains unclear but they seem to feel it is a two-horse race between Milan and Newcastle.
Either suitor would have to pay at least €35m to take Sanches, whose contract with Lille only runs until 2023.
Newcastle trying to tempt Renato Sanches
The difference would then be what they can offer to the player himself in terms of wages. According to Calciomercato, Newcastle would be able to put together a better financial package for Sanches than Milan.
However, Milan are a club of Champions League stature, even if their qualification for the knockout stages will go down to the wire this season. Newcastle, on the other hand, are bottom of the Premier League and therefore in a relegation battle.
Sanches would surely rather be playing in the Champions League than the Championship next season. That said, with a few smart signings in January, Newcastle still have time to turn around their fortunes.
Only time will tell whether they are able to make a statement signing in January, which will be their first transfer window under the new ownership.
Newcastle seek to strengthen midfield
Another midfielder to be linked with Newcastle, who may be more affordable and realistic, is Florian Grillitsch of Hoffenheim.
The Austria international is in the final few months of his contract with the Bundesliga side. Therefore, he can sign a pre-contract agreement in January ahead of next season, or move in the winter for a cut-price fee.
The Sun claim Grillitsch could cost somewhere between £3m and £4m, which may turn out to be a bargain.
At the age of 26, he has built up plenty of experience across spells with Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim. Able to play as a midfielder or in a deeper role, his versatility would be an asset to whoever takes him.
Newcastle are hoping he will choose them, after reportedly tracking him for a few months already.
But Grillitsch also has admirers at Roma, where Jose Mourinho is considering signing him. Mourinho inherited a work in progress when taking the Roma job in the summer, when he tried but failed to sign a new midfielder.
It is an area he will aim to rectify in January and there have been links with a few Premier League players. But the Serie A side are also looking further afield and have Grillitsch on their radar.
Newcastle, though, will hope to use their financial might to tempt the 26-cap international to choose them.