Newcastle have been tracking Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina over the past few months. He was cited as a summer target in April when The Guardian claimed Newcastle were watching whether his loan with Fulham would turn into a permanent move.
Fulham couldn’t beat the drop and the Gabon international will return to St Mary’s with a cloud hanging over his future. Lemina has just one year left on his contract and has spent the last two seasons out on loan. It’s expected Saints coach Ralph Hasenhuttl will be keen to offload the midfielder this summer.
It was recently revealed in The Chronicle that Newcastle’s chief scout Steve Nickson personally watched the 27-year-old in May. So he appears to at the very least be somewhere on the list of targets.
However, Lemina will turn 28 in September and The Mail is reporting that Mike Ashley is unwilling to shell out the £4m it would take to bring him to Newcastle. That is a bargain for a player who was Southampton’s record signing in 2017 when he joined from Juventus for £15.4m.
In his report, Simon Jones says that talks have been ongoing with Southampton over Lemina. Newcastle have even proposed a player swap but the Saints are not too keen on any of the unnamed Magpies offered.
It appears that Mike Ashley’s strict transfer policy of not paying money for players at or even approaching the age of 28 could be in full force this summer.