Steve Bruce should urge Newcastle United to revive their failed interest in SC Braga forward Ricardo Horta with the Liga NOS star now said to be a target for Olympique Lyonnais.
According to A Bola, Horta has aroused the interest of clubs from around Europe with his unstoppable form this season, with his relentless output proving difficult to ignore.
Lyon strived to sign the 26-year-old last summer but were rebuffed in their efforts, yet have continued to monitor the one-time Portugal international’s situation and are said to be back on the charge for his signature.
Braga are refusing to sell Horta for anything less than €12m (£10.5m), having seen the SL Benfica product score nine goals and provide six assists in 23 games across all competitions and captaining Carlos Carvalhal’s side on several occasions this term.
Telefoot journalist Simone Rovera believes Lyon have revived their interest in Horta as they prepare for the potential loss of Memphis Depay, with the Dutchman out of contract at the end of the season but could yet leave the Groupama Stadium this month.
Newcastle were credited with submitting a €12m bid to sign Horta in the previous January transfer window, but were rebuffed at the time as Braga demanded sums closer to his €30m (£26.5m) release clause.
Horta has continued to be a star of the Braga side after ending the 2019/20 Liga NOS season with a career-best haul of 12-goals, netting the joint-most goals (5) and the second-most assists (2) among his Arcebispos teammates in the Portuguese top-flight this term.
With Braga now said to be willing to accept the exact sum Newcastle were alleged to have tabled a year ago, Bruce should be urging the Toon hierarchy to bring out the chequebook and make Horta a Magpies player before February 1’s 23:00 deadline passes.
Horta has the potential to distance the Toon from the relegation scrap, which Newcastle are now well and truly in after losing to Leeds United on Tuesday night. The result was United’s fifth-straight defeat and left Bruce without a win in nine Premier League games.
But the Whites affair was not all doom and gloom, as it showed there is the potential for the Tyneside outfit to turn their season around. Allan Saint-Maximin instantly sparked life into the side following his second-half introduction, while Miguel Almiron looked much more like the £21m man he was when signed from Atlanta United after moving into a central role.
Issues were still there with Ryan Fraser passed from pillar to post trying to find a position that will allow the summer arrival from AFC Bournemouth to thrive, though was eventually hauled off having failed to leave a positive impression on proceedings.
Fraser still lacks his first league goal in black and white while boasting only the one assist, too, and would find his place in the side is seriously under threat with Horta in the squad. Quite simply, the Portuguese maestro can offer Bruce the wide-right option that will free Almiron to play in his best position and work in tandem with Saint-Maximin to guide Newcastle to safety.
Horta has shown in the Liga NOS this term with 2.9 shots and 1.6 key passes a game – enough to rank first in both accounts at St. James’ Park, per WhoScored – that he can bring a creative presence to the side. Just what Bruce needs if he is to keep the Toon in the top-flight.
AND in other news, Newcastle may have found Steve Bruce’s ideal midfielder in a £1.9k-p/w target.