Transfer Gossip: Newcastle launch £50m striker bid – but move faces Man Utd hijack

Darwin Nunez, Joao Mario celebrate a goal for Benfica during Champions League game v Liverpool at Anfield

Newcastle are looking to get one over their rivals by making a concrete move for Darwin Nunez, Leeds will sell Kalvin Phillips and buy two players in his place, while Saturday’s Paper Talk claims Tottenham are looking to finalise two signings.

DARWIN NUNEZ: NEWCASTLE MAKE FIRST MOVE

Newcastle United have made the first move for Darwin Nunez by launching a £50m bid for the striker, claims a report.

The Uruguayan striker is enjoying a stellar season for Benfica and, as a result, finds himself as one of European football’s most in-demand players.

His 32 goals in all competitions has alerted a string of admirers – with a plethora of Premier League clubs all looking to bring him in.

The likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United are all being touted for moves for the Uruguayan star.

Indeed, the Gunners’ need is arguably the most desperate with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah likely to leave at the end of the season. And with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang departing in January, Arsenal may well need two new forwards this summer.

However, United too are also seemingly keen. With Cristiano Ronaldo expecting to leave, United need a new star to lead their attack. And it seems the presence of one man at Old Trafford looks set to give them a key advantage.

As it goes, they could be beaten to the punch by Newcastle. And according to Foot Mercato, the Magpies have already shown their hand.

Backed by their new-found Saudi wealth, the outlet claims Newcastle are looking to make Nunez their record signing.

Darwin Nunez doesn’t want to move to Newcastle and prefers London

Benfica striker Darwin Nunez doesn’t want to leave for Newcastle and would prefer a London move to Tottenham or Arsenal

And they hope by launching a giant bid, they can catch their rivals on the hop.

You have to admire Newcastle’s ambition and the element of surprise may be their only play here.

However, Benfica are unlikely to accept an offer now. And with the transfer window not officially opening until Friday 10 June, they can expect plenty more offers to come in for him.

And while Nunez will likely be playing in the Premier League next season, a move to Old Trafford still looks the most likely outcome.

KALVIN PHILLIPS MAKES LEEDS FUTURE DECISION

Kalvin Phillips, Leeds United lilac shirt, during Premier League game against Newcastle

Leeds can still expect to lose Kalvin Phillips this summer, with the midfielder likely to make a blockbuster transfer.

Despite reports earlier on Friday claiming he has no desire to join Manchester United, Leeds still fully expect him to depart this summer.

The claim is made by the Daily Mail, who claims Jesse Marsch and Co are preparing for the 26-year-old’s exit.

His contract has two years left to run this summer and he is wanted by a series of clubs. West Ham, Aston Villa, Newcastle and Manchester United are among those keen.

In his place, Leeds are seemingly in pole position to sign Florian Grillitsch from Hoffenheim.

Standing at 6ft 1in, Grillitsch also operates as a holding midfielder and is equallly comfortable in the centre of defence.

The Austrian’s contract at the Bundesliga club expires this summer and Arsenal, Everton and West Ham are among those keen.

But the Mail reckons it is Leeds who will push through his signing.

The paper also reckons Leeds will use funds from Phillips’ sale to finally push through the signing of Brenden Aaronson.

The attacking midfielder will move to Elland Road in a £25m switch from RB Salzburg.

TOTTENHAM EYEING HERMOSO, JOHNSTONE

Mario Hermoso celebrating for Atletico Madrid

Tottenham are pushing through with two signings this summer, according to reports.

Antonio Conte is making the signing of a left-sided centre-half his priority – and it seems Mario Hermoso is their top target.

With Cristian Romero settled on the right of a three-man defence, Hermoso is wanted to play on the left. That space is currently occupied by Ben Davies, though he’s usually a full-back.

The Daily Mail claims the 2021 LaLiga champions are planning to sell the 26-year-old this summer.

With two years left on his deal, they want to cash in now – and it is Spurs who lead the chase.

They are also looking at RB Leipzig’s Josip Gvardiol – but Hermoso appears a more obtainable target.

Conte also plans to sign England goalkeeper Sam Johnstone from West Brom.

The 29-year-old is a free agent this summer and will move to Spurs as a replacement for Pierluigi Gollini, who will likely return to Italy.

Johnstone will reportedly ultimately replace Hugo Lloris too. The Spurs captain recently signed an extension to 2024. However, at 35, Tottenham know he won’t have too many more years left at the top.