Steve Bruce leaves position as Newcastle head coach
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Newcastle United have already held talks with Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele over the possibility of a lucrative summer move to St James’ Park, according to reports. The 24-year-old will be a free agent at the end of the season as things stand, with little to no progress being made over a contract extension with the Calatan giants despite recent talks.
Dembele has reportedly been locked in negotiations with Barcelona’s hierarchy for some time but is yet to commit his long-term future to the five-time European champions.
His reluctance to agree fresh terms has alerted a number of clubs to his situation, with Manchester United and Liverpool having been linked with his services as of late.
The Frenchman will be able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with a non-Spanish club from January, suggesting that he could soon be calling time on his spell with Barcelona.
Newcastle are the latest club to have been credited with an interest in Dembele, with the Magpies expected to emerge as one of Europe’s major players in future transfer windows.
The Tyneside club have been tipped to use their newly-found riches to approach some of the world’s biggest talents after their lucrative Saudi-backed takeover was finally completed earlier this month.
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Dembele is said to have been earmarked by Newcastle as a priority target ahead of next season, with talks already being held over a potential move, according to The Sun.
The report claims that a five-year contract worth around £244,000 per week has previously been discussed behind closed doors.
The Barcelona winger has also requested a signing-on fee of £12.7million, the figure that would represent his annual salary, due to his proposed arrival as a free agent.
He signed for the Spanish giants back in 2017 after an impressive spell at Dortmund but has failed to live up to expectations in the years since.
Dembele has registered a total of 30 goals and 21 assists in 118 appearances for Barcelona, who currently occupy ninth place in La Liga.
It remains to be seen whether he can be convinced to join the revolution at Newcastle in January or when next summer rolls around.
The Magpies are still in the process of searching for a new permanent manager after Steve Bruce was relieved of his duties last week.
Meanwhile, Newcastle icon Alan Shearer recently urged the club’s new owners to use the January transfer window to strengthen in a number of problem areas as they look to secure Premier League survival this season.
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“They’ve been poor defensively, they need a defender or two [and] certainly a creative midfielder,” Shearer told CBS Sports.
“And with Callum Wilson, his career will tell you that he will rack up injuries and not play every game.
“So they need another striker to put the ball in the back of the net to try and take the burden off him when he’s playing or not playing.
“So three players without a doubt – a centre-half, a creative midfielder and a forward.”
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