Saturday 15 December 2018

Tottenham favourites to sign Nice striker Alassane Plea after Newcastle fail to move quickly enough

Nice's French forward Alassane Plea
Nice's French forward Alassane Plea

Luke Edwards

Tottenham Hotspur have entered the race to land Nice striker Alassane Plea after Newcastle United failed to move quickly enough to complete the signing as they haggled over the price.

Plea is valued at £27m by his French club, but Newcastle had only offered £20m, which appears to have left the door open for Spurs to hijack the deal. The London club, who can offer Champions League football next season, will now be the favourites to sign the centre-forward who scored 21 goals in Ligue 1 last term.

German club Borussia Monchengladbach have also been negotiating with Nice, but the player wants to play in the Premier League and his preference was to do so under Benitez.

That should have made the deal relatively simple to complete, but Newcastle’s obsession with trying to secure a bargain means they now seem likely to miss out on the 25-year-old unless they raise their offer, something they have so far failed to do, even though it was rejected several days ago.

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has once again been left frustrated by the slow progress made in recruitment this summer, especially considering everyone at the club agreed that the signing of a centre-forward was the main priority this summer.

The Magpies are close to agreeing a deal worth around £20m to sell Serbia international Aleksandar Mitrovic to Fulham, but Benitez will not sanction the sale unless he has a replacement in place.

There is some better news for Newcastle supporters, though, as they edge close to signing Brazilian winger Kenedy from Chelsea.

As revealed by Telegraph Sport, Kenedy’s return after a successful loan spell has been another of Benitez’ priorities this summer and hopes are rising that terms can be agreed with Chelsea.

As things stand, it seems likely the 22-year-old will return to Newcastle on a season’s loan, with an option to make the transfer permanent at the end of it. That would suit the Magpies, who are trying to make the most of a small budget at St James’ Park.

Newcastle’s kitty also been boosted by the £10m sale of midfielder Mikel Merino to Real Sociedad, after they activated a release clause in the Spain Under-21 international’s contract.

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