Newcastle United are believed to be keeping tabs on Real Valladolid sensation, Gonzalo Plata, as manager Eddie Howe seeks to bolster his attacking options.
According to transfer insider Dean Jones – in his column for GIVEMESPORT – the Magpies are said to ‘rate’ the 22-year-old already, with the expectation being that the Ecuadorian starlet will go on to impress for his country at the World Cup.
The former Sporting Lisbon man – whose existing deal is set to run until 2027 – made the move to Spain last summer for a reported fee of just £8.5m, having spent the 2021/22 campaign on loan at his current side.
The Tynesiders will likely face competition for his signature, however, with CBS reporter Ben Jacobs revealing that the likes of Roma, Atletico Madrid and Leeds United have all been interested previously, with Jesse Marsch’s side notably tipped for a move in the recent window.
Jones wrote that the fleet-footed forward is ‘exactly what the World Cup is all about‘ due to his exciting and dynamic talent, with that having been evident during the tournament’s opening game on Sunday evening, as Ecuador ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over host nation, Qatar.
While it was former West Ham United man Enner Valencia who stole the headlines with his well-taken brace, Plata also “impressed” on the night – in the words of Jacobs – notably recording a 90% pass accuracy rate in his advanced role, while also winning three fouls as the home side struggled to live with his speed and trickery.
A player who is “fast, direct and can pick a pass“, as per Jacobs, the youngster has already emerged as a leading asset for the South American nation despite his relative youth, having racked up 31 appearances at international level to date, scoring five goals and registering four assists in that time.
The expectation is that the 5 foot 10 ace – who Jones described as ‘one of those players you could watch for hours on end‘ – could add to that tally over the next few weeks on the global stage, having gone into the tournament with two assists in ten La Liga outings so far this term.
Adding such an explosive presence – who recorded 11 goal involvements in the second tier last term – into Howe’s ranks at St James’ Park could well prove to be a masterstroke, with the Englishman likely to thrive off helping to nurture such an eye-catching talent.
Journalist Fabrizio Romano has only recently claimed that the northeast side are likely to be chasing a new winger in the winter window, with Plata potentially set to emerge as an exciting, left-field option for the top-four hopefuls, particularly should he continue to impress in Qatar.