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Newcastle pushing for Zapata

Newcastle are stepping up attempts to thrash out a loan-to-buy move for Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata.

The Colombia star, 30, wants to join the Geordies and Toon officials are trying to structure a loan deal with the option of a permanent summer agreement.

Atalanta value Zapata at around £34million and are looking for a loan fee in the region of £8m as part of the package for a powerful forward who has also played in Italy for Napoli, Udinese and Sampdoria.

Newcastle were out of luck in an initial move for Zapata and switched their sights to Chris Wood, who signed from relegation rivals Burnley last week in a £25m deal.

Early in this month’s transfer window, Newcastle were alerted to the availability of Arsenal outcast Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and offered to take the Gabon striker on loan with a view to a possible permanent summer deal.

But Aubameyang, 32, is now drawing similar interest from Saudi Arabian sides Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr, having been given the all-clear after heart checks on his return from the Africa Cup of Nations, where he tested positive for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff, 24, is being eyed by Championship side Nottingham Forest, who are aware he is out of contract at the end of the season and could tempt Toon with a £2m offer.

Before his sacking by Everton a week ago, former Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez had been tipped to make a move for Longstaff this month.

Longstaff’s brother, fellow Newcastle midfielder Matty, 21, remains a loan target for League Two sides Carlisle and Harrogate, after his temporary spell with Aberdeen was cut short owing to a lack of game-time with the Scottish Premiership outfit.

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