Head of recruitment Steve Nickson is driving Newcastle United’s interest in Mario Lemina with the midfielder facing an uncertain future at Premier League rivals Southampton, as reported by The Chronicle.
While the signs suggest Moi Elyounoussi will be handed a fresh start on the South Coast after two impressive seasons on loan at Celtic, it remains to be seen whether Lemina will be afforded the same patience.
A Gabon international who played for Juventus in the 2017 Champions League final, Lemina has hardly kicked a ball in anger since manager Ralph Hasenhuttl replaced Mark Hughes at St Mary’s.
And while Hasenhuttl was impressed by the way the 27-year-old acquitted himself during a loan spell at Fulham last season – that famous winner at then-champions Liverpool will forever remain in the memory – you’d think offers would still be considered for a man who has tumbled down the pecking order at Southampton.
Could Lemina leave Southampton for Newcastle?
At the end of April, The Guardian reported Newcastle and West Ham United had both shown an interest.
With only one year left on his contract, Lemina is understood to be available for just £7 million, a fee that would reduce the risks involved in the potential arrival of someone who has flattered to deceive for much of his Premier League career.
Things had gone quiet since then but, almost two months since the rumours first emerged, The Chronicle has provided an update.
It says Nickson is the driving force behind Newcastle’s interest, having travelled to Craven Cottage to watch Lemina in action late last season.
It’s no secret Steve Bruce has been crying out for an energetic, box-to-box midfielder since Newcastle missed out on Leicester-bound Boubakary Soumare in January 2020.
Would Lemina fit the bill? Only time will tell.