Thursday brought reports that Newcastle had made an approach for Aymen Abdennour.
Newcastle United had been linked with the central defender as far back as 2015 but it was claimed he chose Valencia back then because he wanted Champions League football.
With the player not getting regular football last season in La Liga, it looks time for the 27 year old to move on.
However, an exclusive from okcalciomercato on Saturday morning says that their information is, that Aymen Abdennour has now told Valencia that it is Marseille and not Newcastle United where he wants to go, with negotiations for his exit now set to begin.
Marseille can’t offer Champions League football at the moment but with new owners at the helm, they have made a remarkable recovery and will play Europa League football next season.
In 2015/16 they skirted with relegation but with investment by the new owners in bringing back former stars Payet and Thauvin, they bounced back to fifth in the season just ended.
Recent years had seen a flood of stars leaving Marseille as they faced huge financial problems, as well as Thauvin & Payet, the likes of Batshuayi, Imbula, Lemina, N’Koudou and Mendy, had also exited.
As always, sifting the truth from the flood of transfer story nonsense is very tricky, hopefully we will soon be seeing new Newcastle United signings in black & white shirts, rather than just the subject of media speculation.
The Mag – Thursday 15 June:
Newcastle United have made an approach to Valencia for Aymen Abdennour according to reports on Thursday afternoon.
The 27 year old (turns 28 in August) central defender is being targeted by Rafa Benitez according to Foot Mercato.
Also wanting to sign the player are Marseille and Everton, according to the media reports.
A number of different angles on this one, with of course the fact that Rafa Benitez won two La Liga titles at the Spanish club, being one of them.
Interestingly though, when checking back, just over two years ago the agent of Aymen Abdennour said Newcastle had made a ‘concrete offer’ for the then Monaco defender. This was of course in the aftermath of Newcastle staying up only on the final day v West Ham, when John Carver had done his best to relegate NUFC.
Valencia were named as one of the other clubs that had made a ‘concrete offer’ and Aymen Abdennour moved there, with Champions League football on offer.
Valencia paid Monaco 25m euros (£22m at today’s exchange rate) but Foot Mercato believe that 15m euros (around £13m) would be enough to land him this time.
After making the move, Abdennour made 22 La Liga starts and 27 altogether in 2015/16, though he had a couple of periods of time out with hamstring problems.
This past season though, despite Valencia struggling (finished 12th in La Liga), Aymen Abdennour made only nine league starts but sat on the bench for 15 La Liga games, though hamstring problems once again ruled him out in two separate spells again.
Once a highly rated sought after defender, can Rafa Benitez bring the best out of him if there is substance in the transfer report.
Despite a lack of games for his club, Abdennour has continued to be first choice for his country and represented Tunisia in the finals of the African Cup of Nations earlier this year.
The Mag – 29 May 2015:
Newcastle United have made an offer for Monaco centre-back Aymen Abdennour according to the player’s agent, Abdelkader Jilani.
The 25 year old Tunisian international moved for around £11m from Toulouse to Monaco only 18 months ago.
Only last month Get French Football News reported that Newcastle had made a failed approach for Abdennour.
Despite only being at Monaco for a year, in April the defender was reported to be interested in a move this summer but his agents had told Newcastle that it would have to be a club that can offer European football.
Abdennour’s agent appears to now confirm an offer(s) from Newcastle but we are not alone, with Jilani saying that Spurs, Valencia and Inter Milan have also made ‘concrete offers’ for the highly rated defender.
“Given the season that Aymen has had, there is interest from all over the world. We have received calls from clubs and sporting directors, but for now nothing [has been decided].
“Clubs including Valencia, Newcastle, Tottenham, Inter Milan and Wolfsburg have called. We have received concrete offers from these teams, and they are really interested in Aymen.”
Monaco have finished third in Ligue 1 and qualified once again for the Champions League, so it is a little difficult imagining a player at his peak being prepared to move to a club that can’t even offer Europa League football, or the likelihood of European football around the corner.