According to The Chronicle, Newcastle United have been priced out of signing Stefano Sturaro, with West Ham now in pole position to sign the midfielder.
Sturaro, 25, signed for Juventus in 2014 and has gone on to make 64 Serie A appearances for the Old Lady, scoring twice and providing one assist.
The defensive midfielder has been capped by Italy and it was reported recently by Italian news outlet TuttoMercatoWeb that Newcastle had made a bid of £11.4million for the player.
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With Mikel Merino’s impending departure from St James’ park, Rafa Benitez needs to strengthen the middle of the park, but he seems unlikely to spend that sort of money on a defensive midfielder.
While it is a blow for Benitez not to land his target, surely the money could be better spent elsewhere on someone like Chelsea’s Kenedy, and then finding a cheaper alternative to Sturaro in midfield.
Merino didn’t play for Newcastle in the second half of the season so they aren’t trying to replace a key first-team player, even if it is an area that needs upgrading.
It will be difficult if Newcastle have to see Sturaro lining up for West Ham next season but Benitez will have to take this on the chin and find his next target.