Newcastle move for Prem midfielder derailed by curious Mike Ashley gripe

Date published: Wednesday 30th June 2021 10:40 - Steve Pearson

Naby Keita battling with Mario Lemina, Liverpool v Fulham

Newcastle have seen their transfer hopes over a Premier League midfielder dashed after a curious intervention from owner Mike Ashley, per a report.

Newcastle were sparked into life last season by the impressive displays of on-loan Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock. The 20-year-old matched a club record held by Alan Shearer when scoring in seven consecutive Premier League matches.

However, news of Willock’s potential return to Tyneside has gone cold after an earlier swap deal was mooted.

Arsenal are yet to make a decision on where Willock will play next season amid anticipated turnover in their midfield ranks.

As such, the Magpies were thought to be lining up a move for a suitable replacement.

Previous reports put Newcastle in the frame to land Southampton midfielder, Mario Lemina.

The Gabon international featured regularly while on loan with Fulham last year. But with just one year remaining on his Saints contract, Southampton are open to a sale.

Mohamed Salah, Mario Lemina Liverpool v Fulham March 2021

Per the Daily Mail, talks were underway over a £4m deal. However, they state that the potential transfer has stalled due to a Mike Ashley concern.

They report that Ashley is ‘reluctant’ to pay fees for older players with little to no resale value. It is specifically stated his threshold for such players is at the prime age of a player’s career of 27.

Lemina is 27, and as such, the mooted transfer has hit an ‘impasse’.

In order to circumvent paying a fee, Newcastle were reportedly open to including a player as part of a swap. However, per the article, none of the players offered were to Southampton’s liking.

Rival with superior lure dents Newcastle loan hopes

Meanwhile, Newcastle have been dealt a big blow in their quest to bring Arsenal misfit William Saliba on board after a rival suitor that can offer something they can’t entered the frame.

The Frenchman is yet to make his Gunners first-team debut despite being highly rated back home. A dazzling loan spell with Nice last season once again raised questions as to why a chance to impress at the Emirates has never been forthcoming.

Newcastle were linked with a loan approach to offer Saliba the chance to gain Premier League experience. That may be his only hope of game-time in England with Arsenal rumoured to be nearing an agreement to sign Ben White.

However, per the Daily Mail, Lille have muscled in on the Magpies’ hopes. The newspaper report that Saliba is ‘wanted’ by the French champions who can offer something Newcastle simply can’t match.

Their lure is Champions League football – something that would be difficult to dismiss.

READ MORE: Ex-Newcastle boss Benitez at Everton training ground with details of ‘finalised’ contract revealed

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