According to The Athletic, Newcastle United had identified Lille’s Boubakary Soumare as their top summer target – until COVID-19 struck and impacted our plans.
This comes from Chris Waugh, who reveals that the highly-rated Frenchman was our ‘primary midfielder target’ before the club’s financial situation ‘deteriorated’ due to the global pandemic.
It’s believed Bruce’s pre-coronavirus budget was expected to be closer to £70m, meaning any new offer for the man we had a £35m bid accepted for back in January is now off the table – leaving us to sign Jeff Hendrick on a free instead.
Here’s a snippet from The Athletic’s piece:
Boubakary Soumare, of Lille, had been Newcastle’s primary midfield target before the club’s economic situation deteriorated.
After Newcastle had a £35 million bid accepted in January, only for the player to opt against moving mid-season, Soumare’s camp expected another offer this summer.
As the piece states, we had an offer accepted for the 21-year-old accepted earlier this year, but Soumare himself preferred to stay in France for the rest of the season.
With that in mind, he could’ve been a real ‘one to watch’ this summer had things been different, with us clearly willing to pay big money for the French U-21 international.
We may have gone from Saudi spending to more Mike Ashley and £35m bids to free agent signings, but let’s hope we at least bring in some quality additions between now and October 5th!