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Newcastle eyeing Vitinha swoop

Newcastle United are reportedly interested in a move for Braga striker, Vitinha, although are expected to face competition for the forward’s signature.

What’s the word?

According to Portuguese outlet O Jogo, via Sports Witness, the Magpies – as well as fellow Premier League sides Brentford and Southampton – are believed to be keen on signing the 22-year-old, following the youngster’s sparkling form for his current side.

The report suggests the Portugal U21 international is being ‘followed’ by that trio of top-flight clubs, with Bundesliga side Stuttgart also said to be interested in the player who still has almost five years left to run on his existing deal.

The piece does also outline, however, that a deal may prove ‘unlikely’ to pull off in January, albeit with the exciting starlet said to have a release clause in his current contract worth in the region of €30m (£26m).

Ditch Chris Wood

That fee is unlikely to prove an obstacle as far as those at St James’ Park are concerned, with that figure seemingly something of a bargain in relation to the marksman’s current form, with Vitinha having scored nine goals and provided five assists in just 20 games in all competitions this season.

That stellar tally for the highly-rated “sharpshooter” – as described by writer Zach Lowy – also includes a haul of four goals in just five Europa League group-stage outings, with that figure only matched by Feyenoord’s Santiago Gimenez.

Such prolific form follows what was a real breakout campaign during the 2021/22 season, with the 5 foot 10 sensation having netted 14 goals and laid on four assists in 38 games across all fronts, notably hitting four against Santa Clara in the fourth round of the Taca de Portugal.

The aforementioned Lowy has suggested that he would “not be surprised” to see the clinical asset make the move to England in the near future, with the player having the “the pace, the power, the stamina” to potentially be a success in the Premier League.

Adding Vitinha to Eddie Howe’s ranks could well allow the Newcastle boss to finally ditch misfiring, peripheral figure, Chris Wood, with the New Zealand international having failed to truly make his mark since his £25m arrival from Burnley back in January.

The 30-year-old has been unable to truly justify that rather hefty price tag with just four goals in 33 games in all competitions for the club to date, including only two goals in 16 appearances in league and cup this season.

As pundit Gabby Agbonlahor noted at the time of his capture, the one-time Leeds United man had been something of a “strange” capture for the northeast side, with his addition seemingly just a short-term fix amid the scrap for survival last term.

It could well be an ideal time for the Magpies to cut their losses on the £80k-per-week dud in the New Year in order to bring in a younger asset such as Vitinha in his place, with Wood having potentially already served his purpose at a club which now has bigger aspirations than merely staving off the drop.