Newcastle have reportedly made initial enquiries with Benfica for the signing of their left-back Nuno Tavares.
Tavares has been repeatedly linked with the Magpies in the Portuguese media in recent months. The 21-year-old has made 11 appearances in the Primeira Liga this season, serving as a back-up to first choice Alex Grimaldo. He is yet to break through as a first team starter having graduated from the Eagles’ academy.
He has made two appearances for Portugal’s under-21 side and is attracting attention from around Europe.
The newspaper report that these ‘exploratory’ first contacts could develop into negotiations in the not too distant future.
A number of English clubs are said to be looking at the defender’s situation with the Lisbon club. Burnley have previously been named in connection with his signing and are once again linked.
The two bottom half Premier League clubs face stiff competition, though. Italian giants Napoli are the third team named to be in the race.
Tavares’ latest contract with Benfica included an €88m release clause. But previous reports have stated that a fee of €30m would be enough to get the deal done.
However, the article claims this could depend on Benfica’s activity in the transfer market. They themselves are interested in Wolves left-back Ruben Vinagre, who is currently on loan in Portugal’s top-flight with Famalicao.
If they were to sign him, it is understood that the door would open for Tavares to leave.
Bruce backed to stay on
Meanwhile, Glenn Hoddle has backed Steve Bruce to remain as Newcastle manager beyond this season as he ‘deserves’ to have one more year.
Bruce, 60, is in the second season of the three-year deal he penned at St James’ Park in July 2019. He was not a universally popular choice to succeed Rafa Benitez after the Spaniard left to join Chinese club Dalian Professional. But the north-east native managed to guide the Magpies to 13th in his first season in charge.
The current campaign has been challenging to say the least – both on and off the pitch. Speculation over the club’s ownership continues to rumble in the background, and finances are tight.
And it seemed as though Bruce was on the verge of being sacked after last month’s 3-0 loss to Brighton. It was his side’s display at the Amex that drew ire from supporters but he was given the nod to carry on.