Mike Ashley must sanction a Newcastle United deal to sign Spezia Calcio striker M’Bala Nzola amid rival interest from West Ham and AC Milan.
According to Club Dorla 46, Spezia are prepared to brush off any attempts to sign Nzola during the January transfer window as they strive to retain their dynamic marksman.
Nzola has burst onto the scene in the Serie A this season with nine goals and one assist in 13 games, including his side’s initial equaliser in a 2-1 win over SSC Napoli last week, after helping the Stadio Alberto Picco natives secure promotion to the top-flight last term.
Nzola was the star attraction on Monday night when he again found the back of the net to seal a 2-1 win over UC Sampdoria, with Milan said to be scouting the game as they weigh up an offer for the 24-year-old Newcastle and West Ham striker target.
Sampdoria, too, are keen on a deal which would appeal to Nzola, who is highly sought-after through his central expertise and ability to play on either wing, but Spezia are loath to grant a mid-season move and will demand an important offer to sell now or in the summer.
The £3.5m-rated forward initially moved to the Stadio Alberto Picco last January on loan before securing a free transfer to Vincenzo Italiano’s side in October, where his impressive efforts are said to have sparked talk over a new contract and pay rise to ward off any interest.
Newcastle could forge a formidable forward line with a successful move to sign Nzola this month, but Steve Bruce will need to urge Ashley to put pen to an important offer with the Toon owner understood to be reluctant to commit to any major outlays in January.
Nzola is proving to be a lethal marksman in the Italian top-flight with his nine goals in 13 games already this season, despite never playing a minute in the Serie A before helping to secure Spezia’s promotion.
His efforts that have sparked table-toppers Milan to be keen have made Nzola irreplaceable in Liguria, yet a price is clearly on the Frenchman’s head, which Ashley must meet to help Bruce deliver a more appealing Newcastle than the defence-first, relegation-worriers currently seen at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle, as a team, are offering just 8.9 shots per Premier League fixture as the division’s third-quietest unit – only Sheffield United (8.4) and West Bromwich Albion (8.2) strike fewer, per WhoScored – and could do with a player of Nzola’s calibre with Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick the only Magpies to have scored multiple top-flight goals this term.
Nzola is offering an average of 2.1 shots and 1.3 key balls a game in the Serie A while making 1.0 successful dribbles and winning 4.5 duels, per SofaScore, as he commands the opponent’s territory in a side that has won just four of their 17 league fixtures thus far.