Newcastle United representatives, along with those from a host of other Premier League clubs, were in attendance for Greece’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Liechtenstein on Saturday.
They were all primarily there to keep an eye on Olympiakos full-back Leonardo Koutris, who is being lined up for a move away from Greece this summer.
The TEAMtalk website claimed that as well as Newcastle, scouting teams from Leicester, Everton and West Ham were in the crowd, and may also be in Bosnia for his next appearance on Tuesday. The left-back would fit the bill for the Magpies, with the Brazil-born star having all the attributes of a Mike Ashley signing.
It is a position that Rafa Benitez has tried to strengthen on a number of occasions, to provide cover and competition for Paul Dummett, and indeed, Matt Ritchie, who has occupied the left wing-back role in recent weeks.
A deal for Jordan Lukaku looked set to be completed, in a bid to address the situation in January, but the Belgian failed his subsequent medical, which saw Rafa tie up a last-minute loan deal for Monaco’s Antonio Barreca.
There is surely little chance of Barreca staying on Tyneside beyond the end of the season, with the player making just one brief four-minute appearance as a substitute and being left out of the squad for the last six games.
Italian side Genoa tried to seal a deal for Koutris in January, but their £5 million offer was rejected, and the club may be willing to sell in the summer if an offer of double that amount is received.
He would be an interesting signing for Newcastle. A player with the ability to flourish under the Premier League microscope, thus being looked at as one of those with a chance to achieve a high sell-on value in the future.
It is a shame that the latter is what deems a good potential signing at Gallowgate nowadays, but that is how Mike Ashley operates, and in those terms, he would be a good buy.
The Magpies have had mixed fortunes with players from that part of Europe in the past. Nikos Dabizas is the epitome of a cult hero at St James’ Park, while Georgios Georgiadis and Cypriot Niko Papavasiliou failed to have the same impact.
What are your thoughts on the left-back situation at Newcastle? Would Koutris be a good signing? Should your club be looking at sell-on value as an incentive to buy players? Let us know your thoughts below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!