Newcastle United are reportedly still plotting a move for Vasco de Gama sensation, Andrey Santos, despite intense rival interest in the highly-rated teenager.
According to GOAL, while the Magpies are yet to make a formal approach for the 18-year-old, the belief is that sporting director Dan Ashworth could well make a firm offer for the Brazilian once the transfer window opens in January.
As per the report, the youngster’s current side are believed to be eyeing a club-record fee if they are to part ways with their prize asset, with any deal set eclipse to the €18.5m (£16m) exit of Paulinho to Bayer Leverkusen in 2018.
The Rio-born starlet may well be a rather inexperienced asset – having made just 37 senior appearances for his current side to date – although the midfield maestro has more than showcased his quality in that time, having netted eight times in all competitions thus far.
Despite his youth, Santos has seemingly warranted the clamour for his services due to his sparkling form in his embryonic career at first-team level so far, having only recently been lauded as a “monster” and a “complete player” by compatriot Juninho Pernambucano.
With adding a new addition in the centre of the park believed to be something of a “priority” in the New Year for manager Eddie Howe, according to journalist Craig Hope, the Magpies could well find their ideal solution in the form of the Brazil U20 international.
Interestingly as far as the northeast side are concerned, the teen’s talents have even been compared to RB Leipzig sensation, Konrad Laimer, in recent times by talent scout Jacek Kulig, with the versatile ace – who can also feature on the flanks – having been one of the leading figures in Europe in his position of late.
The 25-year-old – who has been dubbed the “Austrian N’Golo Kante” due to his relentless and tireless presence in the centre of the park – notably ranks in the top 1% in Europe for blocks made as a sign of his defensive prowess, while he also offers real ball-playing quality as he also ranks in the top 12% for dribbles completed.
The 24-cap machine – who could well be on his way to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich – is no doubt an impressive figure to be likened to, with such a comparison to Santos likely to bode well for the Magpies.
While Ashworth may well face a battle to land the exciting “wonderkid” – as once described by journalist Bolarinwa Olajide – such a move would surely prove worth it for Newcastle both in the short-term, but also in the years to come.