Newcastle United have offered Colombia international Duvan Zapata a fee of more than 30 million euros.
The proposed deal is one of several high-value transfers being worked on by an ad hoc recruitment team as the Saudi-owned club scrambles to buy a way out of the English Premier League club’s relegation .
While Atalanta are willing to sell Zapata – who has scored 65 goals in 118 Serie A appearances for the Italian club – they are believed to value the 30-year-old at around €45million. Zapata, under contract at Bergamo until 2023, is said to be open to a move to St James’ Park if the two clubs finally agree on a fee.
Under pressure to preserve Premier League status that cost the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund and its other co-investors £305million to snatch Mike Ashley in October, Amanda Staveley’s player recruitment team are trying to add another striker to last week’s hasty £25m release. – the signing of Chris Wood’s clause from Burnley.
According to sources familiar with the negotiations, Zapata is being worked on as an alternative should Staveley and co fail to secure their current preferred choice for the job, Darwin Nunez. Benfica have demanded a €60m transfer fee for the Uruguay international who they signed from Almeria for €24m 16 months ago. The financially-struggling Lisbon club are contractually obliged to pay both 20% of any capital gain on a sale to Almeria and a large commission to intermediaries for the 22-year-old.
Newcastle have won just one league game this season and sit second in the table with 18 games remaining. Having already named Eddie Howe in charge at the start of November – who was not the new owner’s preferred choice to replace Steve Bruce – along with Wood and England full-back Kieran Trippier, Newcastle are trying to add another striker, a midfielder. centre-fielder and a centre-back, while also looking for additional positions.
Amid a host of complicating factors, both exogenous and self-inflicted, these attempts to strengthen have been hampered by antagonism towards the Saudi-led takeover of other Premier League clubs. In response, the Staveley team are focusing their recruitment efforts on overseas-based players; in particular those accessible by the exercise of a release clause.
In central defence, Newcastle faced predictable hurdles when they attempted to sign first-choice signing Sven Botman from Lille. A subsequent €25m bid for Diego Carlos saw Sevilla seek to exploit both their urgency and their inability to agree personal terms with the Brazilian before making that club-to-club offer by inflating their price tag. request. Newcastle spent the weekend researching alternatives for what is seen as a key defensive line improvement.