Newcastle United are considering Sporting Lisbon winger Diego Capel as the long-term replacement for Jonas Gutierrez, who has dropped down the pecking order at St James’ Park.
The 25-year-old former Spain international is being tracked by a number of Premier League clubs and sources in Portugal have indicated that Newcastle are one of the teams that have run the rule over the twice-capped winger.
Although the team’s current system does not utilise traditional wingers, the club are looking for left-wing replacements for Gutierrez – whose future at Newcastle is far from certain. He has not played since a cameo appearance against Cardiff City and has only been involved twice for the Magpies this season.
Capel has been linked with Chelsea and Tottenham in recent weeks and Newcastle have been zig-zagging the Continent as they consider making reinforcements to a squad that has performed so well in the first months of the Premier League season. They have taken in Switzerland, France and Portugal in the hunt for players who can add quality to their squad without having to pay the English premium and Portuguese sources claim Capel is one of the players ear-marked by the Magpies.
The priority target for Newcastle remains a striker and January is likely to see some movement on that front, even if it is just a permanent move for Loic Remy, who has made such a stunning impact this season.
But Gutierrez seems to have tumbled down the preferences of boss Alan Pardew and the club have been looking at left wing options since the summer. Norwich wide man Anthony Pilkington was mentioned as a possible option over the summer.
Sporting have been bullish in recent weeks and over the weekend, club president Bruno de Carvalho told Premier League suitors that there would be no New Year sales as the team continue to ride high in the Primeira Liga.
But it is understood that they would be open to offers if anyone could match their £5million valuation of the highly-rated winfer.
“The club has decided that there will be no sales in January,” de Carvalho claimed.
“The club is leading the division for the first time in nine years and we are determined to fight for the title.
“Only if a ridiculous offer is put in for a player will it be studied.”
Meanwhile, in-form right-back Mathieu Debuchy has talked up the contribution of Remy – arguing that the striker gives Newcastle a “different dimension” in attack. He wants to see the forward called up to the French national team again after praising the amount of “balance” the hit-man gives them.
“Remy can bring a lot of things to us. He’s a fast-paced player who can run through defences,” he said.
“He has a good balance with the ball and is clinical in front of goal.
“Since he joined Newcastle he’s given great things to us.
“I think he would give a lot to the French national team.”
The club’s general feeling is that the French recruits are now beginning to show their worth after managing to integrate and improve over the summer. Debuchy says that the language issues that troubled Newcastle last season are over and they are now an integral part of the St James’ Park pack.
He said: “It’s true that in the dressing room we talk a lot of French. We have a big group of French people.
“But we try to avoid staying together all of the time.
“We aim to speak in English with the other foreigners and the English players. It’s all good – there are no issues.”