Atlanta United star Miguel Almiron appears to be in danger of pricing himself out of a move to Newcastle.
The 24-year-old Paraguay playmaker has been identified as a key January transfer target by Rafael Benitez and his recruitment team, who have been attempting to put a deal in place for some time.
However, it is understood that the player’s wage demands, which amount to in excess of £100,000 a week, and agent fees are major stumbling blocks.
Indeed, sources on Tyneside have described the figures involved as “astronomical”, with the gap between what the Almiron camp wants and what the Magpies are prepared to pay a significant distance apart.
Atlanta president Darren Eales has insisted he would only consider selling the player if the proposed fee “starts with a three” and even if he meant US dollars, that would represent a significant upgrade on Newcastle’s current record, the £16million they spent on striker Michael Owen back in August 2005.
Reports have suggested £25m might be needed to land the player, but even if the Magpies were prepared to pay that much – and that is a big if given the current uncertainty over the club’s ownership – the wage packet and his agent’s fee could yet scupper the deal.
Benitez, who has to date resisted overtures to sign a contract extension, is well aware of the financial restrictions at St James’ Park having spent the last three seasons being largely frustrated in his efforts to persuade owner Mike Ashley to fund his long-term plans.
However, he was left well short of what he wanted during the summer and has seen his side struggle during the first half of the new Premier League campaign – they currently sit just two points clear of the relegation zone – and he knows this month could prove crucial to his hopes of completing a second successful survival mission.
The Spaniard presented managing director Lee Charnley with a list of targets in December and is now keeping his fingers crossed, as hopes that early progress could be made start to recede.
As ever under Ashley, he will be asked to make a case for each potential signing and with no sign of a proposed takeover being completed any time soon, a decision will be taken on whether or not the transfer is viable on financial, as well as football, grounds.
It is understood any investment sanctioned this month could have a knock-on effect for the price of the club, with prospective buyers currently trying to assemble the £300m asking price and facing the prospect of having to dig a little deeper if they leave it any longer.
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