Barcelona boss Xavi is attempting to keep hold of a Newcastle-linked star by promising him a ‘key role’ at the Camp Nou, according to reports.
The calibre of Newcastle’s potential signings has been improved by their £305m, Saudi Arabian-backed takeover. New manager Eddie Howe will reportedly have £50m to play with in January, as well as a further £150m over the next two seasons.
That could see the likes of Niklas Sule and Darwin Nunez arrive at St James’ Park. Bayern defender Sule is reportedly keen to join the project on Tyneside. 22-year-old Nunez, meanwhile, could be set for a big-money move in the summer.
Barcelona’s poor financial situation means they may be open to dealing with Newcastle – but only for the right player. Links emerged between Marc-Andre ter Stegen and the Magpies, but the goalkeeper was quick to shut them down.
There are more concrete rumours surrounding French winger Ousmane Dembele. The injury-prone ace will be a free agent come June, and Barcelona are unwilling to extend his deal at £210,000 per week.
Instead, they have put forward a kind of ‘pay-as-you-play’ contract, but Newcastle are aiming to offer much better terms.
InsideFutbol, citing reports in the Spanish media, state that Xavi is desperate to keep Dembele from the clutches of the Premier League club.
He is currently employing a full-blown charm offensive so that the attacker will remain in Catalonia and revitalise his career there.
Xavi has promised Dembele a ‘key role’ in the first team once he returns from his latest injury, which is a hamstring problem.
Newcastle are unlikely to be put off by this news and could still begin talks with Dembele’s agent. They can organise a pre-contract agreement with him in January under the Bosman ruling.
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Meanwhile, one of Newcastle’s sporting director targets has rejected a move, while also slamming their plans to potentially ‘buy success’.
The Magpies are looking to install a new head of football. Former Barcelona chief Ramon Planes is under consideration after leaving the Blaugrana recently.
Gladbach director Max Eberl is another man on the wish list, but he is not looking to leave Germany.
During a recent interview, the 48-year-old said: “It is not my intention [to join Newcastle].
“I want to work under conditions that are subject to a certain logic and development. And not according to the motto: What’s the cost of the world?
“I would show him [Newcastle’s owner] the necessary respect, listen to his plan and then wish him a nice day.”
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