Chief Sports Writer for the Chronicle Lee Ryder has refuted claims that the club have agreed personal terms with Valenciennes defender Sikou Niakate.
RMC (via Get French Football News) have reported that there was a provisional agreement with the France Under 19 international to make the switch to St James’ Park. However, that story is not true going by the journalist’s tweet:
#nufc sources suggesting that there is NO deal agreed for Valenciennes defender Sikou Niakaté . United are working on deals for a left-back and centre-back with Rafa Benitez mulling through some options.
— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) August 8, 2018
Niakate is only 19 years of age and is rated at €3m (£2.7m) by his club. He has never played in the French top flight and has played just 31 matches of senior football.
It seems our search for a centre-back and left-back before the transfer window closes will move on to other targets. It has been claimed that a move for Paris Saint-Germain’s Stanley N’Soki has stalled with the Frenchman not keen on a move to the Premier League so early in his career.
A move for Swansea’s Federico Fernandez is a greater possibility although the Welsh club’s £10m price tag is a major stumbling block.