Newcastle United may have got the new season underway with a convincing victory over newly-promoted Nottingham Forest, although the need for further additions continues, with the forward line, in particular, in need of strengthening.
Moves for the likes of Alexander Isak and Moussa Diaby have broken down due to the potential, sizeable asking prices, while the Magpies saw long-term target Hugo Ekitike join Paris Saint-Germain, with their pursuit of Leicester City’s James Maddison having also yet to bear fruit.
That has become a source of frustration for manager Eddie Howe, although the former Bournemouth boss appears to have identified a target who could well be the solution to those concerns, with 90min reporting late last week that Marseille forward Bamba Dieng is of interest to the Tynesiders.
The report suggests that the northeast side – as well as fellow Premier League clubs West Ham United, Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers – are all interested in the 22-year-old this summer, with the youngster having been frozen out by new boss Igor Tudor at the Stade Velodrome.
That haul included a tally of seven goals in Ligue 1 alone for the “explosive” talent – as dubbed by former boss Jorge Sampaoli – with it having proven something of a shock to see him cast out of late following the change of regime.
That also comes as a surprise considering just how highly-regarded the £9m-rated prospect is by those in his homeland, with journalist Graeme Bailey revealing how he is referred to as the “new Sadio Mane”, with the expectation being that he can emulate his international colleague.
Such a comparison is a real marker of Dieng’s quality, with Mane having been in truly special form in recent years, notably enjoying a stunning six-year spell at Liverpool prior to his recent switch to Bayern Munich.
That glorious stint at Anfield – where he won a plethora of major honours – saw the 30-year-old score 120 goals and provide 48 assists in 269 games in all competitions, albeit while also sacrificing himself for the team with his relentless work ethic.
Like his young compatriot, the one-time Southampton man is also comfortable all across the front line and offers a real dynamic threat for any side, with it no surprise to see him already settling into life in Germany, having netted on his Bundesliga debut on Saturday.
For Howe and co, it will be of huge interest that the Marseille man has been tipped to become the next Mane in the coming years, with the hope being that the 44-year-old can be the one to develop him at St James’ Park.