Newcastle United are set to miss out on the capture of AS Monaco’s Rony Lopes, as L’Equipe via Sport Witness understand the Toon are not the leading pursuer chasing the Portuguese winger.
According to the French publication, we are one of a number of Premier League and European sides courting the two-time international. But it is Sevilla who are at the front of the queue, with Julen Lopetegui’s Andalusian outfit ahead of Everton, West Ham, Valencia, AS Roma, and us.
The La Liga side also stand a greater advantage in time, as the clock is ticking against United with the Premier League transfer window slamming shut at 17:00 on Thursday, whereas Spanish clubs have until September 2 to conclude their business, also eclipsing the Italian market which closes on August 23.
Any side wishing to acquire Les Monegasques’ instrumental attacker faces paying a sizable mark up on the €10million (£9.2m) Leonardo Jardim spent to sign him from Manchester City, with a fee in the region of €25million (£23m) muted.
Lopes is said to be longing for a return to the Premier League so he can prove himself in the country, after making just five first-team appearances for the Citizens before his departure in 2015.
The 5 ft 7 right-winger – capable of playing on either side of attack or in midfield – has been far more integral to the action at the Stade Louis II, but saw his output curtail last season following a lengthy rehabilitation process from a thigh muscle strain.
In 24 Ligue 1 games, 22 of which included Lopes in the starting XI, the £22,641-a-week forward recorded two goals and assists, having shone in front of the net the campaign before with 15 top-flight strikes and seven assists to his name.
Even with a decreased number of goals, the Belem, Brazil-born 23-year-old relished being reunited with Jardim following Thierry Henry’s dismissal, as his compatriot awarded him a greater freedom to create havoc in attack, with an unpredictable nature in Les Rouges et Blanc’s offence.
Newcastle have recently acquired Allan Saint-Maximin from OGC Nice to occupy our right-hand side of attack, but making a late rush to add Lopes as well could add a wealth of depth to our offence, and allow Miguel Almiron to play more centrally in-behind Joelinton.