Newcastle United are seeking major transfers ahead of the new season and the latest reports link the Magpies with Bruno Fernandes.
Portuguese outlet A Bola state Rafael Benitez’s side have joined the likes of Tottenham and West Ham in the market for the 23-year-old, who could leave Sporting Lisbon in a bargain deal after a turbulent campaign with the club.
Fernandes shone on the field, scoring 16 goals and contributing a further 20 assists across 56 appearances in all competitions, but shocking scenes emerged behind the scenes at Sporting after a group of fans stormed the training ground and attacked players.
That has already led to a number of players cancelling their contracts, citing just cause, including Portugal’s first-choice goalkeeper Rui Patricio – who joined newly-promoted Wolves ahead of the club’s return to the Premier League.
Fernandes is also expected to leave but Sporting are prepared to compromise on a deal, allowing the eight-cap Portugal international to leave in a cut-price deal – and Newcastle need to ensure they are at the front of the queue for his services.
“We ended up being defeated by the genius of the one who, in my opinion, is the best player in the Portuguese championship.”
Newcastle struggled for creativity in the final third last season as not a single player in Benitez’s squad hit double-figures for goals in the Premier League, while Ayoze Perez and Matt Ritchie led the way in assists with five each.
Fernandes’ numbers last season are significantly higher and his arrival would solve a major problem that Benitez has faced in the heart of midfield – lacking options and looking set to endure the departure of Mikel Merino to Real Sociedad, Sky Sports report.
Fernandes would slot immediately into Newcastle’s line-up and his arrival, alongside Kenedy’s return to St. James’ Park on-loan from Chelsea, would signal a major statement of intent to the rest of the Premier League that the Magpies are here to stay.