According to the Daily Mail, Newcastle are tracking Czech Republic international Michal Travnik ahead of the January transfer window – with £4m rated playmaker bagging 10 goals and 10 assists already this season.
The report claims that both ourselves and Fulham have been tracking the 24-year-old after his impressive Europa League performances this season (with 2 goals and 3 assists for Jablonec in 6 games), whilst Augsburg and CSKA Moscow are also said to be keen.
Although we did look to the Czech League to find a £4m bargain in Martin Dubrakva, it would be typical of the Mike Ashley era to see us ignore Rafa’s £20m-rated top target in Miguel Almiron and go for the budget option instead.
The playmaker – who can also play as a holding midfielder – has managed 10 goals and 10 assists in 25 appearances this season, helping Czech side Jablonec move up to 4th in the table (one place above Dubravka’s former club Sparta Prague).
As we know, the signing of Dubravka proved to be one of the bargains of the season at just £4m (and Travnik actually has the same agent as the Slovakian), but deals like this are often a one off. Some of the fees quotes for certain players may be silly in this day and age, but you get what you pay for nine times out of 10.
A club record move to sign Almiron could move Benitez a step closer to signing a new deal, but decisions to ignore Rafa’s top targets and sign bargain bucket options instead would seem like another nail in the coffin for me – even if he did turn out to be another hidden gem.