Newcastle United must decide whether to pursue a deal for Colombia World Cup star Victor Ibarbo as speculation mounts that Inter Milan are set to launch a bid to bring the Cagliari forward to the San Siro.
The Toon have been tracking the 24-year-old for several months, as Alan Pardew looks to improve on last season’s mid-table finish and alleviate some of the pressure on Papiss Cisse as the team’s main forward.
Ibarbo impressed during his infrequent appearances for Los Cafeteros in Brazil, with the striker-cum-winger playing an important part in Colombia’s fine 3-0 win against Greece in their group stage opener.
Newcastle aren’t the only English club to have shown an interest in Ibarbo, with Leeds United also linked with a move for the star, thanks in part to new owner Massimo Cellino’s links with Cagliari – the Italian club he used to own.
But the Colombian seemingly ruled out a move into the Championship in an interview with El Tiempo.
"English football is very interesting, but not the second division,” he said.
"Here [in Italy] I play in a competitive league.”
The quotes could serve as some encouragement to Newcastle United, but may also offer up a warning, particularly after recent developments involving Inter Milan.
The Nerazzurri are thought to be lining up a bid for Ibarbo, as part of a player-plus-cash deal that would see the club pay £5 million to Serie A side Cagliari.
Such an offer could prove palatable to the Colombian who evidently enjoys life in Italy, but with Newcastle able to offer Ibarbo better financial terms and the chance to play against the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United, any Magpies bid could prove too good to turn down.
Yut with Inter seemingly keen to wrap up a deal, it’s time for Pardew and co to make a decision one way or another.