Three international superstars possibly on Newcastle radar after reported scouting mission
COMMENT By Matt Farr
France beat minnows Luxembourg 3-1 in a World Cup 2018 qualifier at the Stade Josy Barthel on Saturday night, but it appears Newcastle may have been closely monitoring proceedings.
RMC sport journalist Georges Quirino shared on his personal Twitter account prior to kick-off on Saturday that Newcastle were on the list of scouts that would be in attendance.
— Georges Quirino (@georgesquirino) March 25, 2017
As a result, Football Insider have suggested three international talents that may have been on the agenda for Newcastle.
Although their reported visit may have been transfer-related, it is most likely that Newcastle scouts were monitoring current Magpies ace Florian Thauvin.
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The 24-year-old winger is currently on loan at French outfit Marseille, but is still contracted to Newcastle, and the English side are likely to have been tracking his progress ahead of a potential return at the end of the season.
He has continued to impress since making his return to Ligue 1 last summer, contributing 10 goals and four assists from 35 appearances for Marseille.
His performances have reportedly caught the eye of European giants Barcelona, but the Newcastle flop could still have a career at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle chief Rafa Benitez is expected to make a decision on the future of the winger at the end of the season, but he won’t have been given any advice from his scouts as the player was an unused substitute.
On the other hand, Benitez could have sanctioned the scouting mission to further examine the attributes of a potential transfer target in Djibril Sidibe.
Benitez is looking to add fresh faces to his squad this summer ahead of a potential return to the Premier League, and the 24-year-old fits the bill in terms of quality and potential.
The right-back only moved to AS Monaco at the start of the season, but has already been tipped with a move to England’s top flight after a promising campaign.
He has three goals and five assists from 38 appearances, and is now the established first-choice full back for the France senior side.
The scouts will have been impressed with what they saw as Sidibe added two international assists to his CV.
Another of Europe’s highest-rated full backs is his Monaco team-mate, Benjamin Mendy.
There will be concerns in the Newcastle camp over the ability of current left-back duo Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara to perform consistently at the top level, and that could see Benitez bring in new blood.
Mendy has already proven in the Champions League with Monaco this season that he can perform on the big stage, and he should be able to make a relatively seamless transition into the Premier League.
Plus, he is the calibre of player that gives Newcastle enough encouragement to do more than just fight a relegation battle in the top tier next term, provided they can fend off interest from Europe’s elite.
In other Newcastle transfer news, Benitez is set to offer new contracts to this senior duo but on one condition.