Just yesterday, The Mail’s Simon Jones reported that Newcastle United were willing to pay £5m to land Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina.
Barely 24 hours later, the same journalist claims a move for the Gabon international has ‘hit an impasse’ as Mike Ashley does not want to pay fees for players over the age of 27 – and Lemina turns 28 in September.
If this is true, it highlights what a mess we’re in this summer should the NUFC owner remain at the helm, also indicating that he’s returned to his old transfer policy of only signing players under the age of 27?
That said, it’s a baffling piece of reporting from The Mail. The same outlet said yesterday afternoon that we were prepared to pay £5m ‘regardless’ of the ongoing takeover saga – yet now Ashley is refusing to pay £1m less because of his age…
Lemina joined Southampton from Juventus for £18m back in August 2017 and impressed in patches during a loan spell at Fulham last season, with The Chronicle reporting last week that he’d been watched by head of recruitment Steve Nickson towards the end of 2020/21.
Yet, if these new reports are true, it sounds like Mike Ashley won’t even pay £4m to sign a midfielder who is A) still only 27 and B) now available at less than a QUARTER of the fee Southampton paid to sign him four years ago.
The Mail even claim that we’ve put forward potential swap deals to the Saints, but they are not interested in what we’ve had to offer, putting the move in jeopardy.
Baffling reporting from The Mail – who’ve changed their tune massively in less than 24 hours – but even more baffling from Mike Ashley should this ‘update’ be accurate.