Gareth Southgate does not fancy James Maddison but Newcastle are besotted and will try once again for the Leicester playmaker in January.
HOWE ABOUT IT?
Considering the last January transfer window saw Newcastle sign Bruno Guimaraes, Kieran Trippier, Dan Burn, Matt Targett and, yes, Chris Wood to help transform their season, it comes as no surprise that Eddie Howe is investigating the winter market.
The Magpies manager needs some external inspiration after overseeing five draws from the club’s first seven Premier League games of the season. And he will try to do what Gareth Southgate refuses to even contemplate: think about James Maddison.
The Leicester playmaker has become England’s Pirlo, Modric and Kimmich and so Newcastle would be silly not to revisit their summer interest. Bids of up to £45m were rejected then and if the Foxes ‘drop their asking price’ then a January move is possible.
That is, indeed, incredibly optimistic. Leicester are winless and bottom so probably won’t sell their current best player at a knockdown fee mid-season.
But The Times say Newcastle acknowledge a ‘need to add creativity to the side’, with Maddison ‘believed to be open to a move to St James’ Park’.
It is added that Leicester will have to decide ‘whether they need the player for a possible relegation fight or risk his value decreasing’. It really does feel like a painfully obvious choice – and one Newcastle won’t be thrilled to learn.
Newcastle might hope for better luck when it comes to another leading target, but they will face much more competition for Andrey Santos.
Fabrizio Romano describes them as ‘monitoring’ the Vasco da Gama midfielder, with ‘nothing done, as things stand’. That will likely be the case for the ‘many clubs’ involved in the ‘open race’ for his signature.
Recent reports in Brazil suggest Newcastle have put together a package worth around £31m for the teenager, who has a release clause closer to £45m. But those negotiations have ‘cooled down’ at the insistence of Vasco, who wish for the player to be able to concentrate on the end of the league season.
That campaign ends on November 5, at which point the Magpies will hope to pick the talks back up ahead of a possible January move.
ENZO THE EARTH
There has been talk of Liverpool interest in Enzo Fernandez recently but not until it was reported by Fichajes was it worth believing.
The Spanish outlet say Jurgen Klopp wants a sodding midfielder and ‘is tired of asking for a man of this profile season after season’. Jude Bellingham is the obvious target and someone the Reds wish to sign ‘as soon as possible’, despite the obvious obstacles involved.
If they are deemed too problematic to overcome, the Fernandez alternative will be pursued. While ‘there are already many clubs that are following in his footsteps,’ Liverpool will get in touch with Benfica soon ‘to find out first-hand their situation’ and gauge an asking price.
That is remarkably sensible stuff. Michael Edwards might have left but the transfer committee cannot be defeated.