Newcastle United’s January transfer window proved to be an enormous lift for Eddie Howe’s side, and it was no surprise to see the club finally pick up the kind of form needed to escape from the Premier League’s relegation clutches.
The likes of Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood added some much-needed battle-hardened top-flight experience, while Bruno Guimaraes came in from Lyon having garnered a real reputation as a bona-fide star in French football.
But while a number of the Magpies’ January signings have played their part in leading the Tyneside club out of trouble, they may look back a little ruefully at one name they didn’t manage to sign: Luis Diaz.
According to A Bola (via Sport Witness), the Magpies were one of the clubs interested in signing the Colombia international in the January window before it was later claimed that the Howe’s side had actually sent scouts to watch Porto’s 1-0 win over SC Braga to see the 24-year-old in action – the winger would end up scoring the winner.
Despite seeing him shine in person and having had interest in him for a number of months, perhaps even longer, Newcastle opted not to act on it, and instead watched Spurs, then Liverpool make big-money bids for him towards the closing stages of January.
In the end, it was Jurgen Klopp’s side who came out victorious in the race to sign him, snapping him up for a reported fee of £37.5m – just slightly more than the initial amount they paid to sign Guimaraes.
And when you look at how Diaz has performed this season, both for Porto and now for Liverpool, not getting him in January seems like a real missed opportunity.
The 31-cap Colombia international was in scintillating form for his former side Porto this season, registering a very impressive 16 goals and six assists in only 29 appearances for the Liga NOS giants.
Following the switch to Anfield, Diaz has netted a further three goals and provided one assist, including nodding across for Sadio Mane in the recent Champions League victory over Benfica in the quarter-finals.
Missing out on Diaz is made all the more difficult given how reports have recently emerged saying Newcastle would be willing to let one of their star men and fellow wide-man Allan Saint-Maximin leave in the summer transfer window.
If that is to be the case, then bringing in Diaz would have off-set that potential departure considerably.
The man with 64 career goals to his name would have been an outstanding signing for the Magpies had they pushed for him before Liverpool came in.