Newcastle United open talks to sign Marcos Leonardo

Newcastle United have reportedly made their first move to sign Santos wonderkid Marcos Leonardo in the upcoming January transfer window.

According to Premier League Brasil, Newcastle are in discussions with Santos over a potential move for young striker Marcos Leonardo.

The Magpies have been going through something of a rocky period in recent weeks, with a few iffy results, injuries to key players mounting, and star summer signing Sandro Tonali receiving a 10-month ban.

The Italian international will now miss the rest of the 2023–24 season because he breached betting rules as an AC Milan player, serving as a huge blow to Newcastle’s aspirations of challenging on all four fronts.

The hunt is now on to find a short-term replacement for Tonali in the January transfer window, with lots of names already being mooted as potential targets, including the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Ruben Neves, and N’Golo Kante. However, it appears they could now move for another attacking player too.

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The Magpies are finally taking giant strides in ensuring that they become a major European powerhouse. Manager Eddie Howe knows that he needs to sign young players who will become superstars in the future, and their pursuit of Brazilian striker Leonardo is the perfect example of their willingness to invest in young guns.

The 5ft 9ins tall striker, who has drawn comparisons with Sergio Aguero for his well-rounded game and goalscoring ability, has already played 161 total games for Santos with 54 goals and 11 assists since making his debut in 2020.

Despite being just 20 years old, he has scored 21 goals in 42 competitive appearances this season, cementing his reputation as one of the most promising strikers in South America.

Leonardo is contracted to Santos until 2026, and although they are under no pressure to sell, a reported €20–25 million price tag could tempt them into selling either in January or during the summer transfer window.

Both Lazio and Roma had been in discussions to sign the forward last summer, but with the club already losing two stars in Angelo and Deivid Washington, they decided to keep hold of him. Arsenal and Manchester United have been credited with an interest in Leonardo.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are said to be long-standing admirers of the 20-year-old and have been following him for more than two years. Premier League Brasil also reports on the Magpies’ growing interest ahead of the winter transfer window, stating that Toon chiefs are exploring the conditions of a deal following informal talks.

It’s a move that could make sense in the long run given the Toon will be getting a young striker eager to learn from and compete with more established stars in Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson, both of whom have been scoring at a ridiculous rate this season.

The latter recently signed a new contract, but it is only due to last until the end of next season, and he will be 33 years old by the time it expires.

In an ideal scenario, Leonardo could become a long-term successor for the Englishman at St. James’ Park. The big question is whether or not Newcastle will have a clear run at him after failing to land a few highly-rated South American wonderkids in recent windows due to stiff competition from European big boys.

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