By Will Butcher
Marseille have made a bid to sign Newcastle’s out-of-favour French winger Florian Thauvin on a loan-to-buy deal, according to a report.
French newspaper L’Equipe claim the Ligue 1 giants have offered an initial loan, with a future option to sign the 23-year-old permanently for £9.2million.
It is said that Serie A big-hitters Lazio had already made a move for the Frenchman, which is believed to be a bigger offer than that on the table from Marseille.
The report states that Lazio are willing to pay £10.5million to sign Newcastle’s number 20 after a year’s loan, but Thauvin’s desire to return to Marseille for a third time could be the determining factor.
The former France Under-21 international was loaned to Marseille during the second half of last season, after making just three starts following his summer move to St James’ Park last August.
He scored four goals in 16 appearances during his return to Marseille.
Newcastle originally bought the attacker from Marseille last summer for a fee reported to be £13million with Thauvin signing a five-year deal at the time.
However, the Toon are willing to let the winger leave the club after bringing in several new faces including Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie in recent weeks.
Rafael Benitez’s squad are preparing for their Championship opener against Fulham on Friday night, and have confirmed the signings of Mohamed Diame and Ciaran Clark.
In other Newcastle transfer news, this former fan favourite has declared that he rejected an offer to stay in the North East following his MLS move.