Newcastle United will end their interest in Anthony Gordon and leave the winger trapped at Everton if their Premier League rivals do not lower their £60 million asking price.
Newcastle are confident they have beaten Chelsea in the race to sign the 21-year-old and a deal is believed to be close.
But with time running out in this transfer window and with Morocco international Hakim Ziyech an appealing alternative, Newcastle are not going to overpay for the forward.
As revealed by Telegraph Sport last week, they are continuing to monitor events at Stamford Bridge closely as they suspect Ziyech may not be the only player who is allowed to leave before next week’s deadline.
Gordon is desperate to make the move to Tyneside and personal terms will not be a problem, but Everton have put an inflated asking price on the player’s head in the hope of extracting as much money as possible out of Newcastle.
That fee seems to be based on the £60 million Chelsea were willing to pay for the Academy graduate last summer but Telegraph Sport understands that Newcastle representatives have made it clear to Everton they will not pay that amount. The ball is now in the Merseyside club’s court.
At this stage of the talks there is always an element of brinkmanship in negotiations and those close to the deal still feel it will happen, but Newcastle need to have a back up plan.
That appears to be Ziyech. The winger has had a mixed time at Stamford Bridge but he is going to be pushed out of manager Graham Potter’s first-team plans by new arrivals.
Telegraph Sport understands that the Gordon talks remain live after he was identified by Newcastle’s transfer committee as a priority signing because he has the raw ingredients to be a top Premier League player for the next 10 years.
Newcastle are keen to lower the average age of their squad and the 21-year-old’s arrival would help them do that. It is also felt Gordon would benefit hugely from Eddie Howe’s management and coaching methods.
Meanwhile, senior sources at the club have once again strenuously denied Newcastle are open to selling Allan Saint-Maximin in this transfer window and have not offered the 25-year-old to any rival clubs in talks this month.
Newcastle suspect someone is trying to unsettle the Frenchman who is playing himself back into form after another impressive cameo appearance in the 1-0 League Cup win over Southampton on Tuesday night.