According to reports in Italy, Paulo Fonseca is keen to raid former club Roma of THREE players if he lands the job at Newcastle United.
This comes from Forza Roma, who are reporting that the 48-year-old is keen to bring Chris Smalling, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Amadou Diawara to Tyneside.
The Roma trio were all part of Fonseca’s squad at the Stadio Olimpico and now play under Jose Mourinho – the former Bobby Robson protégé who ruled himself out of the running at Newcastle United earlier this week.
Fonseca appears to be the frontrunner for the Newcastle job, with Sky Italy’s Fabrizio Romano stating earlier today that an agreement over a long-term contract is ‘edging closer’.
As for the three players linked should he arrive at St James’ Park, this could well be local press in Rome putting two and two together and making five.
Starting with Mkhitaryan, the Armenian attacker enjoyed his best season for over five years in Fonseca’s last year at Roma, bagging 15 goals and 13 assists across 2020/21. That said, he’s entering the twilight years of his career at 32.
The Smalling link is an interesting one given he has a wealth of Premier League experience from his time at Manchester United, with him also being a centre-back – a problem position that must be addressed in January.
Diawara – a 24-year-old defensive midfielder – has struggled for game time under Jose Mourinjo, playing just seven minutes in Serie A this season.
He featured 28 times in Fonseca’s last year at Roma and played a key role in their run to the semi-finals of the Europa League.