Newcastle United have had a bid knocked back for young striker Jean-Philippe Mateta of German outfit Mainz, according to L’Equipe, via Sport Witness.
They report that the Bundesliga outfit have received a host of offers for the 21-year-old including one from the north east as the club looks to bolster its firepower ahead of the new season.
It remains to be seen whether Rafa Benitez will be in charge when it kicks off, but the Magpies are reportedly keen to ensure that Mateta is in their ranks at that stage.
The report says that the bids range from between 20m and 25m euros (£17.8 million – £22.2 million), although there’s no indication on the exact figure Newcastle have offered.
But even the lowest end of that scale would be more than the £16.5 million reported by the Express and Star and widely recognised as enough to sign Salomon Rondon from West Bromwich Albion this summer.
Because Mateta is 21, it’s easy to see why Mike Ashley is keener to offer a higher price – believing that his sell on value is only going to go up.
But Newcastle is a football club – not a business – first and foremost and Rondon gave Rafa Benitez everything he wanted in a frontman last season.
By contrast, Mateta would be a gamble and a reasonably expensive one at that. It’ll come as no surprise to Newcastle fans that Ashley has done this, but that won’t make it any less frustrating.