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Newcastle: Dan Ashworth makes move for Memphis Depay

Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth is believed to have made an approach to sign Barcelona forward, Memphis Depay, according to reports in Spain.

What’s the word?

As per Mundo Deportivo, the Magpies are looking to capitalise on the uncertainty surrounding the Dutchman’s future at Camp Nou, with the 28-year-old having just six months remaining on his existing deal in Catalonia.

The report suggests that it does not appear that the Netherlands international will be handed a new contract by the La Liga giants, ensuring that Xavi Hernandez and co are looking to cash in during the January transfer window.

The piece goes on to note that the Tynesiders have offered a fee in the region of 20m (£17.5m) for his services, with that something of a surprise considering the 86-cap ace can move to St James’ Park for nothing in the summer.

Howe’s own Rashford

The former Manchester United man – who previously made just 53 appearances for the Red Devils during his brief stint in England – has struggled to truly enjoy a consistent run in the side at his current club, although still boasts a solid haul of 14 goals in just 41 games for La Blaugrana to date.

Prior to joining the European giants back in the summer of 2021, the “tortured genius” – as described by journalist Jonathan Liew – had enjoyed a particularly fruitful spell at Lyon, scoring 76 goals and registering 55 assists in just 178 games across all fronts.

The one-time PSV Eindhoven sensation proved during that stellar stint in France just what an elite attacking force he can be, with Newcastle boss Eddie Howe likely to welcome such a creative and clinical talent into his squad with open arms.

Interestingly as far as the former Bournemouth head coach is concerned, Depay shares a number of statistical and stylistic similarities with a current Premier League star in the form of Marcus Rashford, as per FBref, with the northeast side having previously made an enquiry about the Englishman over the summer.

With the 25-year-old having since seen his deal extended at Old Trafford – amid talk of a longer-term contract being in the pipeline – a move for the Three Lions star may now appear fanciful, although signing his former United teammate Depay could well be an ideal alternative.

That likeness is illustrated not only by the fact that the pair can both operate in a central role and off the left, but the two men also surprisingly offer a real threat in the air, with Rashford averaging 1.18 aerial duels won per game, while Depay is just behind on 0.88 for the same metric.

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Such a comparison is noteworthy due to the form of the Red Devils academy graduate this season, with the pacy marksman having scored nine goals and provided three assists in 20 games in all competitions, having also scored three times at the World Cup in Qatar.

To be able to land a player who is Rashford-esque would certainly be an attractive prospect for Howe and co, with it perhaps time for the Barca star to try and chance his arm in the Premier League once again.