For the past three weeks, Newcastle United have been linked with Ruben Semedo.
Claims in the Portuguese media this week that a deal had already been agreed between Newcastle and Sporting Lisbon for the central defender, were rubbished on Thursday by the player’s agent, Catio Balde.
Balde saying ‘Totally false – it’s a lie’, regarding the player having supposedly already decided to become a Newcastle player and the two clubs reaching agreement.
However, Friday morning has seen Sky Sports report that their information is that Newcastle have made a concrete offer of £10m for Ruben Semedo – but Sporting have knocked back the offer and are holding out for £13m.
Keith Downie covers Newcastle United for Sky Sports and he says there is also interest from West Brom and West Ham though Rafa Benitez is trying to seal a deal as soon as possible – Sporting Lisbon now waiting to see if Newcastle will raise their offer, or another club to outbid NUFC’s £10m.
First choice for Sporting Lisbon this season, Ruben Semedo has helped them to third place in the domestic league and he also turned out half a dozen times in the Champions League, playing against the likes of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.
Contracted to Sporting until 2022, the centre-back (can also play defensive midfield) has a 45m euros (approx £39m) buyout clause in his contract.
Apart from the actual size of the buyout clause, there is nothing surprising about it, as it is common practice for players on the continent to have these clauses inserted when committing long-term. Security for the club but also allowing players to move on if a club comes in who they want to relocate to AND who are willing to pay the buyout clause.
Considering he has only started 50 top division matches and has only so far played up to Under 21 level for Portugal, that 45m euros buyout clause is obviously unrealistic considering what he has achieved so far.
However, after only finishing third and 12 points behind champions Benfica, Sporting are said to be willing to take far less than that buyout clause amount, in order to help bring in the players who could bridge that gap between them and Benfica (and Porto who finished six points ahead in second).
The big question for Newcastle is exactly what will represent value for money in this transfer market, with increasingly crazy predictions of what players will move for this summer.