Newcastle United have moved into a good position to win the race for Borussia Dortmund sensation Youssoufa Moukoko, according to a report.
Moukoko is one of the most appealing players who could be available on a free transfer in the summer. He has broken through into the Borussia Dortmund first team and has become a full Germany international too.
With six goals and the same number of assists from 22 games this season, the teenager is making a name for himself. But this could be his last season in Germany.
Out of contract at the end of the season, Moukoko is free to speak to his suitors in the Premier League now. Up to this stage, Chelsea have looked the most likely to get a deal done.
However, an update from the Evening Standard has now revealed that Newcastle have made a “substantial verbal approach” for Moukoko.
In fact, Newcastle have spoken to the 18-year-old about a contract that would see him earn more than £150,000 per week.
With that in mind, the Standard judges that they are “well placed to beat Chelsea” to his signing on a free transfer.
Interestingly, the report adds that Newcastle are now looking at free transfers as a way to comply with Financial Fair Play requirements. Under their current ownership, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), they have the funds to sign pretty much anyone they want.
But they have to stick within the rules and will be under scrutiny if they set aside too much money for transfer fees.
Therefore, perhaps the targeting of players like Moukoko could represent something of a strategy change for the time being.
Newcastle looking to future with Moukoko
In his position of centre-forward, Newcastle currently have Alexander Isak, Callum Wilson and Chris Wood.
Moukoko would be an option for the long term, which Newcastle are equally as keen to look at as they are to pursue stars who can instantly improve them. In some ways, Moukoko might be a bit of both.
What’s more, Newcastle are aiming to qualify for European football this season. Moukoko would bring Champions League experience with him from his time at Dortmund so far.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are in the Champions League this season but risk missing out next term given their struggles in the Premier League at present.
The Blues have been focusing on youth in their recruitment as well since their own change of ownership. In this case, though, things might not turn out the way they want.
Indeed, Newcastle must be taken seriously in the race to sign Moukoko. Barcelona are also keen on him, but the Magpies seem to have some confidence.