Newcastle United are believed to be eyeing a move for Marseille starlet Bamba Dieng, as manager Eddie Howe looks to bolster his forward line before the close of the window.
According to journalist Graeme Bailey, the Magpies are said to be plotting a move for the 22-year-old – as well as Lyon star Lucas Paqueta – with the northeast side keen to secure an attacking addition in the coming weeks.
Writing on Twitter about that interest in the Senegal international, the transfer insider wrote: “Newcastle are ready to push ahead with moves for Marseille’s Bamba Dieng and Lyon’s Lucas Paqueta. The prices for both players fit well into Newcastle’s budget and they have both been on the club’s radar since the turn of the year.”
In his attached piece for 90min, Bailey reveals that the youngster is set to be available for a fee of around £15m having been cast out by new boss Igor Tudor at the Stade Velodrome, with the Tynesiders hoping to win the race for his signature amid mounting interest – including from both Leeds United and Everton, as per the report.
That reported figure would represent something of a bargain for a player who dazzled in France last season, the 11-cap menace scoring eight goals and providing three assists in all competitions last time, including netting seven goals in Ligue 1 from 25 appearances.
Previously dubbed a “serious talent” by Bailey, the £9m-rated prospect has somewhat been unfairly cast aside under the new regime at his current side, with it set to be to Newcastle’s benefit if they are able to snap him up before the September deadline.
An “explosive” attacking force, in the words of former boss Jorge Sampaoli, the 5 foot 10 man – who can thrive all across the front line – was arguably one of the top performers in Europe in some metrics last season, notably ranking in the top 1% for non-penalty xG and the top 2% for total shots, showcasing his lethal, relentless threat in the final third.
That contrasts greatly with Allan Saint-Maximin, for instance, with the dazzling Frenchman only ranking in the top 64% and the top 46% for the same two metrics, respectively, illustrating just how much of a danger young Dieng is.
His arrival could also complement fellow target James Maddison, with the Leicester City playmaker – who has been the subject of two bids from the St James’ Park outfit thus far – likely to be the man to provide the goods in and around the penalty area.
With Dieng a real danger in the air – as he ranks in the top 6% for aerial duels won – Maddison would be the perfect fit to tee the youngster up due to his “world-class” set-piece delivery, as described by Gareth Southgate, having already shown that quality this season after laying on an assist from a corner for Timothy Castagne to head home at the weekend.
With the former Norwich City man having also laid on eight assists last term – while creating 11 big chances in total – the 25-year-old would be an ideal figure to supply the goods for the Senegalese gem in attack, with Dieng likely to thrive on such bountiful service.
At present, Howe’s side are seemingly lacking that creative touch, with the aforementioned Saint-Maximin having led the way for assists last season with just five in all competitions, heightening the need for a new addition.
Managing to secure both deals would no doubt be a real masterstroke for PIF, with doing so set to prove the perfect end to a window that as yet has seen frustration mount over the lack of attacking recruits.