Newcastle United are gearing towards the most important stage of their recruitment process as they plot moves for Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Moussa Diaby.
A centre-forward and wide forward are seen as the finishing touches to their new-look squad under the new ownership as Eddie Howe attempts to propel them towards the European positions in next season’s Premier League.
Everton’s Calvert-Lewin is the prime target for a striker while Diaby is still being pursued as an attacking player to change the flow of their forward play.
The squad has already undergone major transformation this year and club officials are delighted by the fact they have conducted good business deals at a time when many clubs thought they might get rinsed.
The signing of Sven Botman is viewed as a coup and they are using him as a tool to now convince other players of their genuine ambition.
Calvert-Lewin, who Newcastle have reportedly been quoted £60m for, has long been one of the men on their radar and with Everton under financial pressure right now, a bid could be made soon to test the water.
Everton do not want to lose their 58-goal star and Richarlison in the same window but are having to consider how they move forward at this time. They need to help Frank Lampard rebuild a side that can push away from any further threat of relegation but also need to cash in on at least one big player.
The case of Diaby is interesting as Bayer Leverkusen are convinced they might be able to mount a challenge in Bundesliga next season – if they can keep him as well as other up and coming stars.
Yet there seems to be a feeling that a price point between £40-50million might be enough to take him to Newcastle.
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They are continuing to look at other options but Diaby is a top target.
Newcastle have been cautious with their outlay but the cases of Calvert-Lewin and Diaby are going to test just how far they are tempted to push their spending power.
Last season the club signed Bruno Guimaraes, Chris Wood, Kieran Trippier, Matt Targett and Dan Burn to breathe new life into the squad and it worked as they quickly moved away from the relegation zone.
This summer Newcastle have also been linked with Maxwell Cornet, who is looking for a move away from Burnley.
Sources close to the player say he is “waiting for a big enough club to come forward with a proposal” so time will tell just what his expectations are in terms of a next destination.