A report by 90min earlier this week claimed that Newcastle United face a global battle to sign Hatayspor’s highly in-demand striker Aaron Boupendza, who can be Steve Bruce’s upgrade on soon-to-be free agent Dwight Gayle.
Boupendza is understood to be a target for almost half of the Premier League, with as many as eight clubs tracking the 24-year-old’s remarkable progress during his maiden Super Lig campaign.
The forward has netted 18 goals in 26 Turkish top-flight outings to date, having only been signed on a free transfer last summer when FC Girondins de Bordeaux called time on his spell in Ligue 1 with him having failed to make a single appearance in four years at the club.
Boupendza has been a huge hit for Hatayspor with no player scoring more often in the Super Lig this term – Besiktas’ Vincent Aboubakar is second with 15 goals in 24 games – and offering a joint league-high 38% contribution of his side’s efforts so far.
Performing at such a level is said to have Hatayspor eying a quick payday, having raised their valuation of the 15-cap Gabon international to £8.5m after recently accepting a £7m offer from FC Krasnodar, only for Boupendza to reject the transfer.
The forward allegedly snubbed a move to Russia as he is keen to test himself in the Premier League, where scouts from Southampton have regularly cast their verdict on Ralph Hasenhuttl’s potential heir to Danny Ings.
Talent spotters for Newcastle, Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers are also thought to be interested, while joined by Scottish powerhouse duo Rangers and Celtic.
Fenerbahce have been credited with interest in Boupendza previously, though Hatayspor President Lutfu Savas told Radyospor earlier this month that his side currently has no agreement in place with the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium outfit.
Newcastle could look to step up their interest in the CF Mounana product ahead of the next transfer window, with Bruce currently set to lose Gayle and Andy Carroll with both centre-forwards due to be free agents at the end of June.
Newcastle have set a mid-May deadline for a decision to be made on retaining Carroll past his current terms, while the forward is keen to earn a new deal and extend his second spell at St. James’ Park into at least a third season, per Chronicle Live.
Gayle is also open to staying on Tyneside beyond his current contract but will not be short of suitors if the offer does not fall on the table, with Galatasaray said to be eying a potential reunion for the striker with DeAndre Yedlin at the Turk Telekom Stadium.
Bruce can allow Gayle to walk out the door and seal a move to the Super Lig giants if he is set to welcome Boupendza to the Premier League, as the Hatayspor forward would provide the Toon boss with an upgrade in his attacking ranks.
Boupendza would not be considered a replacement for the 6 ft 4 Carroll but rather the 5 ft 8 Gayle, as the 5 ft 10 Gabon international would offer Bruce the mobility to be played across the forward line rather than as an out-and-out target man.
Boupendza has struck 12 of his 18 goals for the Super Lig season from 15 outings on the left-wing – where Gayle started and struggled against Aston Villa last Friday – along with providing three in five games on the right and three in six through the middle.
Gayle has only provided Newcastle with 11 goals in 66 Premier League games since moving to the north east from Crystal Palace for £10m in 2016, while Carroll has found the back of the net just once in 41 outings across all competitions since returning to United in 2019.
Newcastle may be expected to operate on a strict budget in the summer due to the loss of revenue from fixtures being held behind closed doors, but splashing a bit of whatever budget there is on Boupendza seems a smart way for Bruce to go.
AND in other news, Newcastle have landed a boost in any hopes of signing a “terrific” £20k-p/w star…