Reports in France suggest Newcastle United’s summer spending spree may not be done just yet, with Lorient’s Portuguese international defender Raphaël Guerreiro firmly on the Magpie’s radar.
It signals yet another foray into the Ligue 1 market that Newcastle have used all too often in recent years, which could arguably be attributed to the club’s decline.
This time though, it’s not a technically a Frenchmen they’re looking to bring across the Channel.
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Although Guerreiro was born in France, he qualifies to play for Portugal via his father’s nationality. It’s while representing the Portuguese Under-21’s this summer at the European Championships that the left-sider really made an impression, drawing reported interest from French heavyweights PSG, Atletico Madrid and Newcastle United.
French newspaper L’Equipe reported this week that Lorient president Loic Fery has been talking about their starlet’s valuation, saying: “I don’t need to explain why we want €12.5m when Kurzawa and Digne are valued today at €25m. No one [is] untransferable, but at a fair price.”
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Although I’m pretty sure ‘untransferable isn’t a word’, you get the gist.
One thing Toon fans are sure to worry about is the esteemed company the club finds themselves competing with for the exciting youngster’s signature. While ambition is good, being too bold can result in a fruitless endeavour – as will be the likely scenario with Monaco defender Aymen Abdennour.
Late in 2014, Guerreiro earned full honours for Portugal after appearing in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Armenia days before scoring the winner against World Cup runners-up Argentina at Old Trafford. Quite the accomplishment, by all accounts.
Guerreiro has been likened to compatriot and fellow left-sider Fabio Coentrao, who coincidentally has just arrived in France for a loan spell with Monaco from Real Madrid.
Like Coentrao, the 21-year-old is equally adept to playing in midfield as he is at home in a full-back slot thanks to his attacking instincts, great pace and comfortable feet.
Newcastle are definitely in need of some reinforcements in the full-back department with no natural reserves beyond starting pair Daryl Janmaat and Massaido Haidara.
In regards to Haidara, the Frenchmen has suffered numerous injuries during his three years with the club and surely cannot be relied upon to be a constant for the duration of a season spanning three competitions.
Physical competence aside, Haidara also has a long way to go to prove he has the necessary quality to be a guaranteed starter.
Another international left-back to have been linked with the club in recent weeks is PSV’s Jetro Willems. The 21-year-old – who played for Holland at Euro 2012 as an 18-year-old – was at St James’ to watch close friend and former teammate Gigi Wijnaldum’s Newcastle debut on the opening day of the season.
Dots started being connected when the full-back posted a picture on his Instagram account of him flying into Newcastle with the caption “Fly to the future”.
In the two weeks since his trip and post, no more substantial reports have emerged to indicate anything is imminent with the Dutch international, much to the chagrin of the speculative Newcastle supporters.
It’s evident that Steve McClaren and his staff need to recruit at least one full-back into their ranks and that’s preferably on the left-hand side, as Vurnon Anita and Chancel Mbemba have filled in on the right when needed.
Will Chairman Mike Ashley continue to empty his wealthy pockets? If he is to do for Guerreiro, it’s going to cost him around £8.8 million.