By Russell Edge
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has made contact with the representatives of Portuguese defender Ruben Semedo, according to a report.
Portuguese news outlet A Bola report in their Saturday edition that Benitez has opened talks over a potential move for the Sporting Lisbon man, who can play as both a centre-back or central midfielder.
Semedo is reported to have a €45m (£38m) release clause in a contract signed last year, which is set to keep him at the club until 2022.
The 23-year-old is a graduate of Sporting’s youth system, and has also gone on to make six appearances for his country’s U21 side.
This season he has gone on to make 29 appearances for the Portuguese side, who sit third in the Primeira Liga.
Football Insider verdict:
Even with the significant transfer budget Rafa Benitez has reportedly been given, it seems a stretch that he would splash out £38m on an unproven youngster. Newcastle will be in the market for versatile players, and the spine of the side is somewhere the manager will certainly look to invest. However, his desire for proven Premier League talent ahead of the Magpies’ return to the top flight will mean Benitez is likely to take his money and spend it a little bit closer to home where, for £38m, he could invest in a top player.
In other Newcastle transfer news, the Magpies are running out of time to sign this 25-year-old.