According to the Northern Echo, Sassuolo star Stefano Sensi is Newcastle’s leading midfield target if the club cash in on Jonjo Shelvey this summer.
The report also claims that ‘long-term targets’ Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield) and Tom Cairney (Fulham) are under consideration should West Ham prise Shelvey away from St James’ Park this summer – something that seems increasingly likely after talk of a £20m bid being readied.
Here’s a snippet from Paul Fraser’s latest piece for the Northern Echo:
‘NEWCASTLE UNITED have been told they face enormous competition from some of European football’s big guns if they want to land a leading midfield target this summer.
‘Stefano Sensi, who has been on the Magpies’ radar for more than a year, has been watched numerous times by the Tyneside club’s scouts and is attracting interest from Italy, Spain and England.
‘Jonjo Shelvey could be sold, amid consistent talk that West Ham United are keen on a £20m deal. Isaac Hayden, despite being heavily involved in the first team picture since Christmas, could also depart given he has requested to leave St James’ Park for personal reasons in each of the last two windows.
‘Sensi is one of those Newcastle are considering – along with other long term midfield targets like Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy and Fulham’s Tom Cairney – to make a bid for this summer.
‘But Newcastle have been informed there is other interest in the 23-year-old, who has impressed while playing for Sassuolo, and that could drive up a price that had initially stood at £21.4m.
‘Italian media has reported that Sensi is wanted by AC Milan, Inter Milan and Barcelona, among others, so Newcastle will have to pull out all of the stops if they are to secure his services.’
Sensi – a 23-year-old Italian international – seems am ambitious target given his recent form has seen him attract interest from some of Europe’s top clubs, but it’s interesting to read above that Rafa has been tracking him for over a year now.
Mooy could be a shrewd replacement, with him proving over the last two seasons that he’s more good enough to play at this level, however Cairney would be an uninspiring buy for me.
Maybe the poor Fulham side he’s been playing in has made it difficult to impress following his step up from the second tier, but Mooy’s always looked the part for me; despite playing in a rock bottom Huddersfield side.
I read earlier that Rafa would cash in on Shelvey if he was given certain (e.g money to sign a replacement of his choice). If selling Shelvey allowed us to bring in Sensi then I’m sure he’d be happy (providing the Italian is a top target of his), but any cut-price replacement would feel like a repeat of last summer, with the arrival of Ki on a free feeling like a step backwards after Merino’s £10m exit.
For anyone unfamiliar with Sensi, here’s him in action for Serie A side Sassuolo this season: