With The Magpies set to lose Christian Atsu in the New Year, there's an opening for another winger in the squad.
Newcastle United sent scouts to watch FC Porto midfielder Hector Herrera in action against Leicester City in the Champions League on Wednesday, The Chronicle reports, but his sparkling team-mate may just have caught their eye instead.
Mexican international Herrera came off the bench with 15 minutes remaining at the Estadio do Dragao as the Portuguese giants enjoyed a rampant victory over the Premier League champions, with The Magpies heavily tipped to make a move for a player who’s box-to-box energy and dynamic passing could make him the ideal partner for Jonjo Shelvey.
Furthermore, Rafa Benitez is a known admirer, having attempted to bring Herrera to Napoli during his spell in Serie A.
However, according to Goal, any potential transfer could take some negotiating with the club captain’s release clause set at a hefty £35 million and Porto earning a deserved reputation for being able to bleed every penny out of potential suitors for their in-demand stars.
Therefore, unless a fee can be heavily reduced, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is unlikely to part with such a monstrous fee for a player who has not even been a guaranteed starter under Nuno Espirito Santo in recent weeks – epitomised by his late arrival from the bench against Claudio Ranieri’s side.
Though that’s not to say the long trip to Porto could be considered a waste, however. In Jesus Corona, Herrera’s team-mate for both club and country, The Magpies may have discovered a player who is guaranteed cult hero material. And not just because he can thump sweetly-struck wonder-volleys into the top corner, as Foxes keeper Ben Hamer found out to his peril.
You see, the former FC Twente thriller is everything those on the Tyneside terraces want from an attacking player in black and white – he’s lightning quick, exciting, hard-working, and possesses the vision and composure to score and create in equal measure. Newcastle is a club renowned for its adoration of exciting wingers, from David Ginola to Lauren Robert to Hatem Ben Arfa, and Corona fits the bill perfectly.
Furthermore, with Ghanaian wideman Christian Atsu set to depart for the African Cup of Nations in January, and Corona starting just seven games in the Portuguese top flight this season, circumstance could inspire one of Newcastle’s finest signings in recent years.