By Danny Wright
Newcastle United have been keeping close tabs on Slavia Prague defender Jakub Jugas, according to a report.
The Sunday People (print edition, 8 October) claimed that Rafa Benitez has sent scouts to keep watch of Jugas, 25, in his last three appearances for the Czech Republic giants and is now hopeful of snapping the centre-back up in January.
It is understood that the Magpies are willing to fund a seven-figure swoop worth £2million for the former Czech Under-21 international, even though he is contracted to the club until 2020 after only signing for them from Ziln in the summer.
Jugas has instantly become an invaluable part of the Slavia first-team, having made 15 appearances across all competitions this term, including six in Europe competitions.
After failing to help his side reach the Champions League group stages, they dropped into the Europa League and have so far started that campaign well with a win against Maccabi Tel Aviv and a draw with Astana.
The Sunday People adds that Newcastle aren’t the only team in the hunt for Jugas, with clubs from Italy and Germany also interested.
Football Insider Verdict
Newcastle do need defensive reinforcements for cut-price deals in the January transfer window, but £2million for Jugas is perhaps a big ambitious considering he has only just been signed by Slavia Prague and is also knocking on the door on the senior national team. Benitez’s priority has to be a left-back and he may also want to revisit his interest in a new goalkeeper and a striker. The summer window was a bit of a disaster for the club and in a way, January can’t come soon enough even though results have been decent. Jugas would just seem a bit of a risk. Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark have done a good job and their back-up options are also better than the ones in other areas of the squad.
In other Newcastle United news, Ayoze Perez has responded to reports of a training ground bust-up.