We have been expecting Newcastle to sign Virtus Entella left-back Cheick Keita for the last week or so and Newcastle have been continually liked with him in the Italian media.
Now it seems Newcastle have fresh competition for the player, with TMZ reporting that Birmingham City’s new Italian manager Gianfranco Zola wants to sign the defender in the January transfer window.
The fee the Italian second division side want for their top youngster is around €2M (£1.75M) so that will not break the bank at Newcastle.
20 year-old Virtus Entella left-back Cheick Keita
The report is that Birmingham City have already entered into talks to sign the youngster, so if Rafa Benitez is really keen on this youngster we had better make a move for him quickly.
The player is of Mali descent and he moved to the French second division club Virtus Entella in the summer of 2014, when he was released by Monaco – after coming through their Youth Academy.
Keita has played over the last two seasons in the Virtus Entella first team at left-back and he’s made a total of 47 appearances for his club over that time.
Rafa does have a number of contacts in Italy, after he managed Inter-Milan for a short time in 2012 and then spent two years in a successful reign as manager of Napoli from 2013.
The initial Sun report over a week ago was that Rafa wanted to do a quick deal for the young defender before other clubs made a move for him, so that would have suggested the Magpies would be bidding for Keita very soon.
If Newcastle really want this youngster we should bid for him quickly.