Newcastle United are reportedly eyeing a swoop for Nantes attacking midfielder Ludovic Blas, with Eddie Howe’s side in desperate need of extra creativity in the final third.
According to the Daily Star, the Magpies are in talks with the Ligue 1 outfit over a potential deal for the 24-year-old, with Premier League rivals Watford also reportedly in discussions.
Valued at £14.4m by Transfermarkt and earning £16k-p/w, the attacking midfielder -who is often deployed as an inverted right-winger – has two years left on his contract with Nantes and could be on his way to the Premier League this month.
Last season, Blas completed the most successful dribbles in Ligue 1 with 80, whilst recording the fifth-highest amount in the French top flight since the 2017/18 campaign.
There has been plenty of attention surrounding the 24-year-old, with team-mate and former Liverpool midfielder Pedro Chirivella comparing Blas to former Anfield teammates Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Speaking to French magazine So Foot, Chirivella said: “When it comes to pure talent, I rate Ludovic Blas above all the others. I played with [Philippe] Coutinho, Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, I know what they are capable of.
“And when I see what ‘Ludo’ is doing in training or in games, he has nothing to envy them when it comes to talent. He’s incredible, spectacular, and his future looks bright. We are often lined up together in the middle, we see football the same way, and it is a pleasure to grow alongside him.”
With Eddie Howe’s side still 19th in the Premier League table and in real danger of being relegated, the 44-year-old will be desperate for as many new recruits as possible this window.
However, their attack could do with the sort of creativity that Blas may be able to provide. The Tyneside outfit are currently averaging a goal per game in the Premier League, having scored just 20 goals in their 20 matches; only three teams have scored fewer goals in the division.
Granted, there is the argument that Blas would need the time to settle in a new league, whilst there also being serious expectations put on the 24-year-old’s shoulders with Newcastle deep in the relegation dogfight. Based on the Nantes player’s goal return and the garlands surrounding him, though, he could prove to be exactly what Howe desperately needs.