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Newcastle United’s interest in Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby is being frustrated by the German club’s insistence they will not consider bids of less than £60 million for the France international.
Newcastle have scouted the 22-year-old extensively over the last 18 months and feel he would be an excellent addition to the squad but are unwilling to pay that sort of money.
It has led to deadlock in talks, although sources have indicated Newcastle are not ready to give up on their pursuit of such an exciting young talent.
Although still widely described as the richest club in the world because of the wealth of their Saudi Arabian owners, Newcastle are operating within the strict parameters of the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability rules.
Since the takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund back in October, Newcastle have announced one new sponsorship deal with online retail company Noon, but that will not significantly increase their spending power in this window as the deal is worth around £7.5m a year.
They have already spent around £52m this summer on fullback Matt Targett (£12m), goalkeeper Nick Pope (£10m) and centre back Sven Botman (£30m, which will rise to £37m with add-ons).
The budget constraints are leading to some difficult recruitment decisions with manager Eddie Howe wanting to sign two attacking players before the end of the summer window.
Newcastle could look to use the loan market and are keeping a watching brief on Armando Broja’s situation at Chelsea, as they wait to learn whether the Albania striker will be allowed a temporary move after spending last season with Southampton.
That would free up money for a marquee signing like Diaby. Newcastle have not given up on making that happen, but their hopes of a deal being done seem to depend on Leverkusen lowering their asking price.
That seems unlikely unless the player starts to agitate to leave. As things stand, sources close to the player do not believe that will happen which has forced Newcastle to look at alternative options.
There is a familiar sense of frustration in the market with moves for Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Brentford’s Ivan Toney also floundering because of asking prices well in excess of £50m.
However, senior sources at St James’ Park are said to be relaxed about the situation and with three new signings made before the end of June, they feel they can take their time now.
Rather than be forced into paying inflated fees, Newcastle’s hierarchy are waiting to see how the market develops over the next two to three weeks before making their next move.
The lack of attacking signings has done nothing to dampen excitement levels on Tyneside with more than 30,000 supporters trying to get their hands on just 1,000 new season tickets last month.
The club only released a limited number of extra season passes as they want to keep enough tickets back for general sale on a matchday so that more fans can get to see the team play over the course of the next campaign.
Tickets for pre-season friendly games against Atalanta and Athletic Bilbao also inspired tens of thousands to queue online, as well as at the stadium box office, when they were put up for sale on Tuesday morning.