In Focus: Newcastle and Southampton can’t afford to dwell on Semedo snub

According to reports in Portuguese publication A Bola, La Liga side Villarreal are closing in on the €14m (approximately £12.2m) signing of Newcastle United and Southampton target Ruben Semedo from Sporting Lisbon.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the Premier League duo are both looking to strengthen their central defensive options this summer and they had both been linked with a move for the 23-year-old.

However, it appears as though the in demand Portuguese player is set to move to Spain rather than England, which will come as a blow to the Magpies and the Saints.

Why did they want him?

Well, despite receiving two red cards this season and often finding himself on the substitutes’ bench in the closing stages of the campaign, the tall defender has all of the attributes to be a success in the Premier League.

He is strong in the air, has a good reading of the game and is comfortable on the ball and bringing it out of defence – shown by his 90% passing accuracy for Sporting in Primeira Liga this term.

Even though he is understood to have had a release clause of €45m (approximately £39.1m) the duo also would have been interested as soon as they realised they could buy him this summer for less than a third of that total.

Who could they turn to?

With strong interest in Eibar’s Florian Lejeune it looks as though Toon boss Rafa Benitez could be looking for two new centre-backs this summer, and he could turn his attentions to Manchester City’s Eliaquim Mangala, or perhaps even Hull City’s Harry Maguire.

Meanwhile, Southampton may wait to see on the outcome of the Virgil van Dijk saga before they commit to buying a new centre-back, as the need for one wouldn’t be as urgent if the Dutchman is to stay at St Mary’s.

What’s the verdict, then?

Well, while the news may come as a blow the Premier League duo don’t have time to feel sorry for themselves and must quickly move on to their next target in order to strengthen their respective squads as soon as possible.