Newcastle United are ready to raid French football again and push ahead with moves for Marseille's Bamba Dieng and Lyon's Lucas Paqueta, 90min understands.
The Magpies are in the market for more attacking options and boss Eddie Howe admitted after their opening day weekend win over Nottingham Forest that he would ‘love more quality’ in his squad.
Since Newcastle’s new owners arrived late last year, they have backed Howe and the French market is one they clearly believe presents very good value. Bruno Guimaraes arrived from Lyon in January and Sven Botman followed from Lille earlier this summer, while the club pushed hard to try sign Hugo Ekitike, who ended up at Paris Saint-Germain instead.
Having already seen approaches for Moussa Diaby, Callum Hudson-Odoi, James Maddison and Jack Harrison knocked back, Newcastle are ready to return to Ligue 1 in search of more signings and sources have confirmed that Dieng has moved towards the top of their wish list.
One of the leading lights of Marseille’s excellent campaign last season, Dieng has been given the cold shoulder by new boss Igor Tudor and is free to leave for a fee of around £15m, with the French side already lining up his replacement in the form of Alexis Sanchez, who has departed Inter.
22-year-old Dieng was on Newcastle's radar in January but the Senegal ace, who will be heading to the World Cup in November, is now available and attracting plenty of interest.
90min understands the player's agents are locked in talks with Marseille to secure a move and a switch to the Premier League is looking increasingly likely, with Newcastle looking to beat fellow suitors Leeds and Everton to his signature.
There is also interest in Dieng, who can play anywhere across the forward line, from Germany and Italy, as well as Scottish champions Celtic.
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Alongside Dieng, Newcastle are back on the trail of Lyon midfielder Paqueta who, like the Marseille winger, was also discussed as a possible January target. The Magpies declined to pursue a move back then as his asking price was in excess of £50m.
Sources close to the situation have told 90min that Lyon are now ready to do business at around £33m with add-ons, and that does appeal to Newcastle, who are adamant they will not go above their own valuation of any player, as they have already proven this summer.
A good friend of current Newcastle star Bruno Guimaraes from their time together at Lyon, Paqueta visited him earlier this summer and he has not hidden his desire to play alongside him in the North East.
Newcastle, though, may not have a clear run at the 24-year-old as Arsenal are also keen as they look to add another midfielder to their ranks before the window closes.
Lyon, for their part, are already believed to be planning for Paqueta’s departure this month, with Flamengo’s teenage star Victor Hugo in their sights.