The Colombian maverick was reportedly wanted at St James' two years ago; but Newcastle United may not have been too impressed by his performance.
If you’re in the market for a clever, creative attacking player on the relative cheap, Benfica’s Estadio da Luz is probably a good place to visit. After all, as Nico Gaitan, Angel Di Maria and Goncalo Guedes prove, the perennial Portuguese champions certainly know how to polish diamonds.
And, according to Sapo Desporto, Newcastle United sent scouts to watch their Champions League knockout tie with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, a thrilling 1-0 first leg victory sealed by a goal from former Fulham flop Kostas Mitroglu and some unusually horrendous finishing from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
But did The Magpies sent their spies to Lisbon with one player in particular on the brief? After all, O Jogo reported that they were extremely keen on jinking right-winger Andre Carrillo during his development years at Sporting Lisbon, going as far as to launch an £8.5 million bid in January 2015. Were they picking up the interest again or checking out another player?
A tricky if ungainly attacker cut from the same cloth as Gervinho, the Colombian international is still yet to earn his ‘big break’, swapping one Lisbon giant for another in July after refusing to sign a contract with Sporting eventually being suspended by the club. Just for the record, he was nicknamed ‘The Snake’ before this whole sorry saga.
However, if Carrillo was indeed the object of Newcastle’s cross-continental jaunt, the scouts won’t have filled too many notebooks with details of his display. He remains exciting yet erratic, racing away from Raphael Guerrero before running the ball out of play in the first-half. At the interval, he was hooked in a tactical switch.
Yet, Rafael Benitez made clear in January his desire for added creativity and, at the age of 25, Carrillo is good enough and young enough to line Mike Ashley’s wallet somewhere down the line.