Newcastle join Arsenal, West Ham in race for Ligue 1 pacesetter who ‘can leave’

Date published: Monday 11th January 2021 4:46 - Neil Foster

Newcastle United have joined Arsenal and West Ham in being linked with a January move for in-form Reims striker Boulaye Dia.

The 24-year-old has been on fire in Ligue 1 this season, scoring 12 goals from 17 outings. That puts him on a par with Paris Saint-German superstar Kylian Mbappe and has caught the eye of a few clubs.

The Hammers were said to have identified the Senegal hitman as the player to replace the departed Sebastien Haller. Arsenal have also been credited with an interest while Manchester United were linked in November.

But ChronicleLive are suggesting the Magpies have been scouting Dia with a view to making a move. It is not known how much he would cost but big-money signings are unlikely at St James’ Park this month.

Dia scored twice in Reims’ 3-1 victory over AS Saint-Etienne on Saturday. He is likely to be targeted by other clubs before the transfer window shuts. And, when asked about his future, the talented forward played his cards close to his chest.

“I can leave, just as well as I can stay,” he told Ligue 1. “This is just the beginning of the transfer window; the month is very long. I don’t think about that. I’m focused on the results of the team, on myself, to continue to perform well and to score goals.

“I feel good in Reims, it’s a good family atmosphere here. Otherwise, we know my situation. I have a release clause, that’s what I can tell you.”

Reims are now unbeaten in five league games and sit 14th in the French top-flight standings. Dia has played a big part in their recent success but admitted that nobody is getting carried away.

“The goal is simply survival,” he added.

Magpies need lift

Although three places and eight points above the relegation zone, it is clear Newcastle are heading in the wrong direction. Two points from a possible 15 has seem them slip down the table.

But they now have just the league to focus on after Saturday’s 2-0 FA Cup third-round loss to Arsenal. Veteran striker Andy Carroll came in for praise from Bruce after the defeat but he is never a long-term option.

The 32-year-old rarely plays and has started just six Premier League matches since returning to Tyneside in August 2019. It remains to be seen if Dia arrives but they need someone whose name is regularly on the score sheet.


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