Steve Bruce could discover Newcastle United’s next Yohan Cabaye in Leicester City’s sought-after midfield prospect Sidnei Tavares.
According to Noticias ao Minuto, the Magpies are one of several clubs monitoring Tavares’ situation at the King Power Stadium ahead of him becoming a free agent this summer.
The 19-year-old is currently due to be out of contract at the end of the season, but the Foxes are still making efforts to tie the Portugal U19 international down with a new deal.
It is considered unlikely that Tavares will continue his career with Brendan Rodgers’ side beyond the 2020/21 season, as the teen star is ‘disappointed’ that he is yet to make his full senior debut despite several inclusions in the first-team fold.
Newcastle could face competition from across Europe in any efforts to sign Tavares, with Sporting Lisbon seen to be heading a queue featuring Liga NOS rivals SL Benfica plus Spanish sides Sevilla and UD Almeria as well as Ligue 1 outfit OGC Nice.
Reports by The Sun during the recent winter transfer market also claimed that FC Barcelona have a gentleman’s agreement with Leicester to be Tavares’ first-choice destination, should he opt to leave the East Midlands as a free agent at the end of the season.
Scottish Premiership powerhouse Celtic are also exploring the teenager’s potential availability, having seen the cousin of ex-Manchester United star Nani emerge as one of the Foxes’ stand-out players during their EFL Trophy efforts earlier in the campaign.
It will be hard for any club’s talent spotters to truly judge Tavares’ potential with him having played just 10 minutes of competitive first-team football in his career, but Rodgers lauded the central midfielder as a “real talent” following an “outstanding” performance during a pre-season win over Birmingham City last summer.
Rodgers also handed Tavares’ his only senior action to date as a late substitute during a 2-0 loss to SK Slavia Prague in the Europa League earlier this week, coming on immediately after the Czech side doubled their advantage to seal a place in the Last 16.
The Foxes boss must have some confidence in his potential to thrust the youngster on for his debut at a crucial stage of a game, though Newcastle can use his disappointment at fewer opportunities to feature to convince Tavares of a move to St. James’ Park.
On Tyneside, the 19-year-old talent could go on to establish himself as the Toon’s next Cabaye, having displayed a gritty nature in the Leicester engine room and with a creative touch for the U23s.
The Portuguese prospect has one goal and two assists to his name this season, including scoring and creating against League Two side Grimsby Town in a 3-1 EFL Trophy win in November.
Leicester’s official website, in their only recorded data for Tavares, also note an 80% pass success rate in a pre-season friendly, along with making a successful tackle from his only attempt and being successful in three 50/50 duels.
Cabaye was a gritty and creative presence in the Magpies’ engine room during his years in the north east, offering 18 goals and 14 assists in 93 games before joining Paris Saint-Germain for an initial £19m in 2014.
The Frenchman also offered at least 2.2 successful tackles from a minimum 3.6 attempts per Premier League game in black and white, plus a low-2.1 interceptions and 0.8 clearances, per WhoScored.
Obviously, Cabaye was already a much more proven product upon his arrival than Tavares would be, but the sought-after Leicester prospect would seem to have the base level that Newcastle can look build on for years to come.