Newcastle are reportedly hoping to negotiate a reduced fee for Monaco defender Aymen Abdennour.
Abdennour, 26, has established himself as one of the top defenders in French football in recent years, starring with Toulouse and now Monaco.
The Tunisian international is now the target of Premier League clubs, with English teams already raiding French football regularly this summer for the likes of Jordan Amavi, Jordan Veretout, Jordan Ayew, Florian Thauvin, Dimitri Payet, Andre Ayew and Yohan Cabaye.
Abdennour could join that list, with The Sunday Times reporting that both Aston Villa and Newcastle are ready to lock horns over his signature.
The report states that Newcastle are hopeful of a deal for Abdennour as Steve McClaren looks to improve his defence even after signing Chancel Mbemba from Anderlecht earlier this summer, but are having to try and talk down Monaco's asking price of £18m.
It's also reported that Aston Villa have been in discussions with Monaco over Abdennour, and have told the Ligue 1 side of their intention to pay the £18m asking price.
That would be quite the surprise even after selling Christian Benteke to Liverpool earlier this summer, and whilst manager Tim Sherwood does have funds at his disposal, paying £18m for Abdennour would be a shock.
A staggered deal with money paid in instalments is more likely, whilst Newcastle would need to drive that price tag closer to £10m in order to agree a move - making this an intriguing transfer battle.