Newcastle United and Crystal Palace are set to battle it out for the signing of St-Etienne’s Jonathan Bamba, according to L’Equipe, as the winger enters the final 12 months of his current deal.
The 21-year-old, who is valued at around â‚¬5 million (Â£4.5 million) by his current employers according to the French newspaper, has made a flying start to the current Ligue 1 campaign, scoring the winner on the opening day of the season against Nice, before providing the assist for the only goal of the game during Saturday’s 1-0 victory away to Caen.
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Both Newcastle and Palace are seemingly intent on concluding a deal for the winger, having reportedly sent scouts to run the rule over Bamba during the win over Nice.
However, the Premier League pair can expect to face stiff competition for his signature from a host of European sides, including AC Milan, Porto and Sevilla.
Having finished top of the Championship last season, securing promotion back to the Premier League, Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez would have hoped to have been more active in this summer’s transfer market, with the Spaniard insisting that more recruits are required if they are to avoid the drop.
Should Bamba complete a move to St James’ Park, he would have to battle it out with Matt Ritchie, Jacob Murphy and Christian Atsu for a place in the starting XI and may be more likely to feature off the bench.
With Andros Townsend linked with a departure from Crystal Palace, then the Frenchman could possibly expect first-team opportunities easier to come by under Palace manager Frank de Boer.
The Eagles were toothless in the final third of the pitch during their opening day 3-0 defeat at home to newly-promoted Huddersfield Town.
Since taking over the reins at Palace, De Boer has yet to bring in any attacking reinforcements, but at just Â£4.5 million Bamba could add strength in depth to Dutchman’s squad and may prove to be a useful addition.
A France under-21 international, the wideman spent the second half of the 2016/17 campaign on loan at Ligue 1 outfit Angers, where he scored three goals in 17 appearances in all competitions, helping the side to a 12th-place league finish.
Both Newcastle and Palace are in desperate need of reinforcements if their opening Premier League games of the season are anything to go by and adding Bamba to their ranks would be seen as a plus.