Scouts deployed: Newcastle eye move for speed machine after £9m deal fell through - report
By Russell Edge
Newcastle United are keeping a close eye on Villareal attacker Alfonso Pedraza with a view to securing a transfer for the 21-year-old, according to a report.
International Business Times claim on their website that the Magpies are joined by Premier League rivals Southampton in sending scouts to watch the young winger, who spent the second half of last season in England during a loan spell at Leeds United.
The pacey attacker made 14 appearances for the Whites, with a reported £9million purchase deal in his contract which would have been activated had the club been promoted to the Premier League, although it fell through as a result of their seventh placed finish.
He is currently on loan from Villareal at fellow La Liga side Alaves, and has made nine appearances so far for the club, chipping in with a solitary assist, as they find themselves second bottom in Spain’s top flight.
The speed machine has earned four caps for Spain’s under-21 side, where he has played with current Newcastle star Mikel Merino, and is contracted at his parent club until 2021.
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Newcastle will be able to get the inside verdict on Pedraza thanks to his international connection to midfield man Mikel Merino, and that may even give them an advantage in securing his signature. Rafael Benitez has already built up a contingent of his fellow countrymen on Tyneside, with Merino joined by Joselu, Jesus Gamez and Javier Manquillo joining fellow Spaniard Ayoze Perez in the first team squad. He performed adequately at Leeds United during his loan spell but Newcastle would be expecting more if he was to return to England. Still, if they could secure a deal similar in price to what the Whites were prepared to commit to upon promotion, it could be a risk worth taking.
In other Newcastle United transfer news, one of the Magpies’ rising stars is being eyed up by some of Europe’s biggest clubs.