Rafa Benitez is set to miss out on reported Newcastle target Wesley Moraes, as Het Laatste Nieuws understand the Brazilian is bound for Aston Villa.
The Club Brugge striker has long been linked with a move to St James’ Park, with it once considered a guarantee that the 22-year-old would either be joining us this summer, or completing a switch from the Belgian top-flight to the Italian Serie A with SS Lazio.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding Benitez’s future and the potential takeover by Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, though, made it clear we had lost ground in the race for his signature, as his representatives had begun to explore other destinations.
While West Ham United were linked in the past, and Bayer Leverkusen had presented the BayArena as a possible new home, it seems those negotiations were with Aston Villa, and it will be Villa Park where Moraes will end up.
HLN believe a €25million (£22.2m) deal has been agreed, and the official announcement is imminent, with Dean Smith’s newly-promoted side offering the 27-goal ace (17 scored, ten assists in all competitions) a five-year contract in Birmingham.
The price being quoted is marginally lower than what HLN felt Brugge would demand in any negations, having suggested earlier this month that Blauw-Zwart were chasing €30million (£26.6m) after rejecting a bid of €18m (£15.9m) from Lazio, which is now understood to have also included €3m (£2.6m) in add-ons.
€25million is still a record sale for the Jupiler Pro League, however, as their previous highest was Youri Tielemans departure from Anderlecht to AS Monaco at the same amount, which eclipsed Marouane Fellaini’s move from Standard Liege to Everton in 2008.