On winter transfer deadline day, Steve Bruce revealed that Newcastle had a near-record bid accepted for a midfielder that he refused to name. However, despite the bid being accepted, the player turned us down.
Steve Bruce claims that about 8 days ago #NUFC had an offer "close to a club record" for an unnamed midfielder accepted by the club but that the player himself opted against the move.
Refuses to confirm who it was.
"He was our No 1 target. He was a midfield player."
— Chris Waugh (@ChrisDHWaugh) January 31, 2020
It was revealed later that day the player Bruce referenced was Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare. Newcastle tried desperately to convince the young Frenchman to join, but it was to no avail.
However, Newcastle have not ended their pursuit of the now 21-year-old. Reports emerged from France in late February claiming that Newcastle were still trying to tempt Soumare to Tyneside. There were also claims that the offer is still on the table, and Newcastle just has to convince the player to join.
It appears there is still a rift between Soumare and Lille due to the player’s refusal to join Newcastle. Despite Soumare publicly claiming that any issues between him and Lille were behind them, he did not make an appearance for six straight matches until making a 7-minute cameo against Lyon on the 8th of March.
Now Buzz Sport has a report claiming that Soumare could still be persuaded to join Newcastle this summer. So we suspect that Newcastle have not given up on signing the French U21 international.
We could see another approach for the player this summer. The fee Lille accepted was in the range of £35m plus add-ons. While Soumare has interest from some other elite clubs, we expect Lille would still be keen to do business for around the same amount this summer.
Now if Newcastle can just convince the midfielder to join, we could still pull off a tremendous deal for this talented player.