Newcastle, Villa enter race for Hungary international with ‘brutal’ price tag

Date published: Wednesday 21st April 2021 4:22 - Neil Foster

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Aston Villa and Newcastle United have reportedly joined a host of clubs keen to sign Fenerbahce defender Attila Szalai this summer.

The 23-year-old has been earning rave reviews for his displays at the heart of the Yellow Canaries rearguard. The rangy centre-half joined the Turkish outfit in January this year and has started 15 Sup Lig games. Fener forked out £1.8m for his services and it appears to be money well spent.

He has helped Emre Belozoglu’s side to second in the Turkish top-flight standings. They are just three points adrift of table-topping Besiktas.

Szalai’s performances have seen him linked with many clubs in recent months. Premier League high-flyers Leicester City are said to hold an interest along with Italian duo Napoli and Lazio.

And, according to Blikk (via Sport Witness), Villa and the Magpies have now entered the race for a summer swoop. Capped 11 times by Hungary, the youngster appears to have the footballing world at his feet.

The one stumbling block might be his price tag. Should he be sold this summer, Fenerbahce are looking to make a tidy profit.

Having spent less then £2m in the winter window, they are reportedly set to demand €25m this summer. While that would be affordable to most clubs mentioned under normal circumstances, finances are tight.

The pandemic means revenue streams have been reduced and clubs must cut their cloth accordingly. With that in mind, a move to St James’ Park seems unlikely.

Owner Mike Ashley has a firm grip on the purse strings. And, with uncertainty over the ownership of the club and the future of manager Steve Bruce, it appears a non-starter.

Szalai could end up in Midlands

Villa have shown a willingness to pay big bucks in the past. But the Foxes might also appeal to the Budapest-born ace. They seem set to qualify for next season’s Champions League and are a club going in the right direction.

Manager Brendan Rodgers will strengthen this summer, with the prospect of facing some of Europe’s elite in 2021-2022. It remains to be seen if they would be willing to match a price described as ‘brutal’ by the Hungarian publication.

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It has been stated that the interested suitors have yet to make a formal approach for the youngster. And there could be a rush for his signature when the transfer window reopens.

He is under contract until the summer of 2025, meaning the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium outfit hold all the aces.

READ MORE: Newcastle enquire about availability of highly-rated Benfica defender

 

 

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