Newcastle United are stepping up their efforts to sign Atlanta United FC attacking midfielder Miguel Almiron, reports The Daily Mail.
The 24-year-old Paraguay international has been in fine form in America, scoring 13 goals in 36 appearances in all competitions this season.
Almiron signed for the Major League Soccer side from Argentinian outfit Lanus in January 2017 and has taken the league by storm.
Rated at around £25 million, Newcastle are reportedly one of a host of clubs interested in bringing him to England as early as January.
The Mail claims Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United are all tracking the Paraguayan.
However, Newcastle appear to be in pole position at the moment and they are set to begin talks with Atlanta this week.
Rafa Benitez is understood to be a keen admirer of the player and the report adds that the Spaniard feels he will easily be able to adapt to the demands of playing in the Premier League.
However, Newcastle must move quickly if they are to get their man.
Not only could the hefty price tag be a stumbling block, Almiron himself may prefer a move to London – where the other three clubs are all based – to the Northeast.
Newcastle started the season poorly with no wins in their first 10 league games, but a run of three straight victories has seen them rise to 13th in the table, although they are still just four points clear of the relegation zone.
Benitez will obviously want to recruit new players during the transfer window but may find his attempts blocked if chairman Mike Ashley is not willing to give him the funds to get deals over the line.
Newcastle fans would likely be surprised if the club were to spend as much money as The Mail believes is necessary to bring Almiron to England.
Nevertheless, the fact that the Magpies are already talking to Atlanta does suggest that they are serious about trying to make the transfer happen.