Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Rival transfer cited as price driven up for exciting top Newcastle target

Ismaila Sarr against Adama Traore

Newcastle United have identified Watford winger Ismaila Sarr as their first target for January, according to reports – but he may not be as gettable as they imagine.

An interesting winter transfer window awaits Newcastle after their Saudi-backed takeover. They now have plenty of funds to spend, but they may have to wait a few years to attract talent from the very top. Still, they could be an appealing destination for players looking to mimic their growth.

That may be where Sarr, 23, comes in. The Watford winger impressed after moving to the Premier League in 2019, despite his new side suffering relegation that year. Nevertheless, he helped them regain top-flight status at the first time of asking.

After contributing 13 goals from 39 Championship games last season, Sarr is now back in the big time. So far this term, he has four goals from nine Premier League appearances, leading the way for his club.

Transfer links have followed Sarr around for some time and his start to the season has not stopped them. In fact, the Daily Mail are now claiming he is a top target for Newcastle in January.

The Senegal international would inject excitement into the Newcastle attack. Capable of playing at a higher level than at present, they could offer him the platform to grow with them.

Although Watford are currently in a higher position than Newcastle in the Premier League table, the Magpies seem destined to be heading in an upwards direction over time. Sarr could follow them.

However, the Mail warn that Watford’s stance is likely to prohibit a deal in January. The Hornets are not keen on letting their star man go.

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In fact, they believe that he could become as valuable as Jack Grealish, despite being a different type of player, over time. The England playmaker joined Manchester City from Aston Villa for £100m this summer, to give an idea of how highly he is rated.

Coincidentally, Sarr was linked with Villa over the summer as a potential replacement for Grealish. However, nothing materialised, meaning Sarr’s big-money move will have to wait.

Watford winger Ismaila Sarr during the club's pre-season 2021

Newcastle are capable of paying huge sums for signings now, but they will have to work out whether each target is worth it. Clubs will be aware of their ability to pay and could in theory drive asking prices up as a result.

Watford invested heavily in Sarr in 2019, paying a club-record fee. They will be keen to maximise any profit if they reluctantly have to sell him and look likely to seek a record amount in that department too.

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Newcastle in mix for winger signing

While Newcastle still need to appoint a head coach and sporting director to make key decisions, their new owners already have their own ideas of how to take the club forwards.

Sarr has supposedly been part of their plans for a while. Whether he arrives or not, it seems they are seeking to strengthen out wide.

Another winger to have been linked with them on more than one occasion recently has been Eden Hazard.

The former Chelsea star has not enjoyed his time at Real Madrid, so could return to the Premier League to revive his career at the age of 30.

Chelsea have been tipped to take him back, but Newcastle are also believed to be in the mix.

ESPN recently claimed that the two clubs have both been sounded out over taking him back to England. He may be available for €50m, which is a significant investment but also a fraction of the price he was worth when moving to Madrid.

Hazard’s thoughts on either destination are unclear but the two clubs could keep trying for his signature if they feel the need.

Champions League winners Chelsea already have plenty of cover in attack. For Newcastle, on the other hand, he would be a statement signing if he could recapture his best form.

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