Newcastle United are ready to make their first major signing by bidding for £70million-rated Serie A star Dusan Vlahovic in January.
The 21-year-old Serbian striker is one of the most in-demand players in Europe having fired in 12 goals in 14 matches for Fiorentina so far this season.
In addition to Newcastle, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are both among the clubs linked with a move for Vlahovic in January.
Vlahovic's 27 goals in 37 league matches in 2021 is the second best tally in Europe's top five leagues after Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski's 38 league goals this year.
The Sun reports that Fiorentina could be open to selling Vlahovic in January, with Newcastle keen to make him the first signing of the Eddie Howe era.
Newcastle drew Howe's first match in charge against Brentford on Saturday, but the former Bournemouth boss was not present at St. James' Park after testing positive for Covid.
The Magpies reportedly sent scouts to watch Vlahovic play for Serbia against Portugal during the international break.
The former Partizan Belgrade striker was named Serie A's young player of the season in 2020/21 and scored twice on Saturday as Fiorentina beat AC Milan 4-3.
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Meanwhile, Newcastle's draw with Brentford meant they slipped to the bottom of the table after Norwich City beat Southampton 2-1.
In addition to Vlahovic, Newcastle are also believed to be interested in signing two full backs, a centre back and a midfielder in the New Year.
They have been linked with Spurs' Harry Winks in recent days as Howe looks to build his squad.
Although Vlahovic has been reported to be valued at around £70million, it is understood that Fiorentina will not command such a fee in January.
Vlahovic has so far refused to sign a new contract with the Italian club with his current deal having just over 18 months remaining on it.
The fee would not be an issue for Newcastle, though, following their recent takeover and director Amanda Staveley has already hinted that the club are ready to spend big.
“We'll need to stick to the rules of the Financial Fair Play rules. We will invest as much as we can, I think everybody knows that," explained Staveley.
“But we won't just invest in footballers, budgets, transfers – it'll be across the board, everything. We want to make sure we invest at all levels.
“We have to look at the numbers and there are rules and regulations as we talked about, we have to make sure the revenue is coming in, the Premier League has rules on how we invest.”
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