By Danny Wright
Newcastle are ready to make a stunning late swoop for Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet, according to a reliable journalist.
Italian reporter Alfredo Pedulla claimed on his personal website on Tuesday night that the Magpies are prepared to meet the £18.5million valuation of Praet, 23, who would prefer a switch to Tyneside despite interest from Everton.
It is understood that Serie A club Sampdoria would consider selling the playmaker, but only if they can find a replacement before the transfer window slams shut on Thursday.
Praet has been highly thought of throughout his short career so far having been a product of the famous Anderlecht and Genk youth academies in Belgium.
The top-flight playmaker signed for Sampdoria last summer and made 34 appearances across all competitions in his debut season, scoring one goal and supplying one assist in the process.
Reliable journalist Kristoff Terreur has recently reported that the one-time Belgium international is looking likely to stay at Sampdoria once the window closes.
Football Insider Verdict
Praet would be a decent addition to the Magpies side but he really isn’t what the club is in desperate need of. Rafa Benitez has been on the lookout for a goalkeeper and a striker for most of the summer while he is also facing a late rush to sign a left-back after an injury forced Paul Dummett out of action for months. Praet should be the least of his concerns, especially when Sampdroria want £18.5million for his signature. That sort of money could also seriously deplete the Magpies’ resources meaning that there is a possibility that no one else will be signed up by the club.
In other Newcastle news, a big-spending English club has made a last-gasp approach for this Magpies star.