Newcastle ended up with three loan signings during the January transfer window, but they could have signed even more players.
Steve Bruce revealed on transfer deadline day that the Magpies had actually made a club-record offer for a midfielder, who initially remained unnamed.
However, it soon emerged that Boubakary Soumare of Lille was the man in question, although he turned down the chance to make the move.
It has been some rise for the France U21 international.
Just last June, his Transfermarkt value stood at £6.3m. But now, less than 12 months later, that number has risen to £24.3m – a rise of 286%.
Here, we take a look at three reasons behind that surge in market value…
The 2019/20 campaign has really been Soumare’s breakout.
He has made 10 starts across the last two terms in Ligue 1, but he has already been included in the first XI on 15 occasions this time out, whilst he also found himself on the teamsheet for all six of their Champions League group stage matches.
It was the clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in which he particularly caught the eye.
The 21-year-old was Lille’s best outfield player by some distance, completing five of his six attempted dribbles and winning 10 of his 12 duels. Unfortunately, les Dogues were beaten 2-1 by the Blues, but it was through no fault of the midfielder.
That display started to put him on the map.
Of course, the Newcastle bid is now common knowledge, but they were not the first side said to be pursuing the talent. During the transfer window, both Chelsea and Manchester United were said to be fighting it out for his services.
Then, it emerged that the reason why Soumare decided not to make the switch to St. James’ Park concerned his intention to wait for a potential move to Liverpool. With so many clubs from the richest league in the world interested, his value was only going to go in one direction.
As previously mentioned, it is only this campaign that Soumare has put his stamp on Lille’s midfield. Before, it was Thiago Mendes who took up the deeper role in the middle of the park for Christophe Galtier – last term, he featured 34 times in the French top flight.
His performances during Lille’s run to second, though, caught the eye of Lyon, and he ended up making a €25m (£22m) move to the south of France.
The team’s loss, though, was Soumare’s gain, and he was called upon to plug the gap in the side’s line-up.