Newcastle United are one of the clubs interested in Fenerbache centre-back Attila Szalai, according to Sky Sports News.
With less than two weeks remaining in the January transfer window, the Magpies are in the market for a central defender. Newcastle have conceded 43 goals in their 20 Premier League matches so far – an average of 2.15 per game – and their record for expected goals against is the worst in the division.
They had hoped to sign Sven Botman from Lille, but encountered so much resistance from the reigning French champions that they opted to move on to other targets.
Szalai was at the centre of a bizarre episode last month when Hungary manager Marco Rossi declared that a move to Chelsea was a ‘done deal’, only for no transfer to materialise.
According to Sky Sports News, Newcastle are rivalling fellow Premier League club West Ham United and Serie A giants AC Milan in the race for Szalai’s signature.
The expectation is that he would cost somewhere ‘in the region’ of £16.7m.
Szalai has been a regular in his first full season in Turkey following a move from Apollon Limassol a year ago, starting 17 out of a possible 21 Super Lig matches and four out of six Europa League group stage games.
His ‘progression’ in Istanbul has been hailed as ‘unbelievable’ by football journalist Ben Bocsak, while he also played every minute for Hungary in their ‘Group of Death‘ at last summer’s European Championship, taking on Portugal, France and Germany.
The defender was one of his country’s standout performers at the finals, leading the way for passes into the final third over any other player and also ranking highly for ball recoveries. That was enough to earn him a spot in Squawka’s under-23 team of the tournament.
This is all really encouraging for Newcastle fans as their club pursue a much-needed defensive reinforcement.
In other news, Newcastle could swoop for this Manchester United target
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