Filip Djuricic has emerged as an alternative to Clement Grenier after manager Alan Pardew has admitted he may have to wait until the summer to sign the Lyon playmaker.
Newcastle United were weighing up whether to make another bid for Grenier today after an offer believed to be in the region of £11m was rejected yesterday.
But the agent of Benfica midfielder Djuricic has claimed the Magpies have also been in talks with his client.
Without a replacement for Yohan Cabaye joining today they will go into tomorrow’s Tyne-Wear derby desperately light of goals after their appeal against Loic Remy’s Carrow Road red card was rejected yesterday.
Like Luuk de Jong, who this week joined on loan from Borussia Moenchengladbach, Djuricic has failed to settle after a summer move from Holland.
The 22-year-old has started just four league games since joining from Heerenveen, where he scored 17 goals in 66 Eredivise matches. His only goal of 2013-14 came in a Champions League appearance against Anderlecht.
“It is true about Newcastle, I have been speaking with Alan Pardew this week and so let us see what happens by the end of Friday,” said Ulisses Santos.
The Serbian international made his name as a central midfielder in Holland, and is thought to be unhappy the Eagles have used him as a second striker.
Newcastle have been looking for a player who can operate between the holding midfielders and centre-forward after selling Cabaye to Paris Saint-Germain this week. In completing the deal on Wednesday, the Magpies gave themselves just over two days to find a replacement.
As yet, the only players Joe Kinnear has brought to the club since taking over as director of football in the previous transfer window have been on loan, although there is an option to make de Jong’s move permanent at the end of the season.
Newcastle had earmarked Remy Cabella as Cabaye’s long-term replacement, but his club, Montpellier, are involved in a Ligue 1 relegation battle and because of that, and tax reasons, extremely reluctant to sell before the end of the season.
Grenier too may be out of reach for now.
“I’m obviously hopeful and that is really where I sit today,” said Pardew when asked yesterday if he expected to sign Grenier.
“He has some tremendous, creative technical ability. He is a player who Newcastle fans would love to see at the football club. But he is still not our player so until he is, I will wax lyrical about him then.”
De Jong is the latest in a number of targets Newcastle have missed out on in the past, only to return to later. When asked if they could come back in for Grenier in the summer, Pardew replied: “There would be no other option really than to do that (if he fails to sign today). We will have to see how we go. We used the Andy Carroll money obviously really well (in 2011) and I want to take the team forward as best we can.”
Benfica paid £5m for Djuricic, who has four goals in 15 international appearances, but are said to want nearer £8m for him now.
Newcastle appealed Remy’s red card against Norwich City on Tuesday but while they failed the man who provoked it, Bradley Johnson, has had his suspension overturned.
There is no bitterness from Pardew towards the departing Cabaye, meanwhile.
“You don’t want to lose your best players and he was a great player here, certainly one of the best midfield players this club has ever had,” he said. “I am sad to see him go. We wish him well.
“We improved him at this club for sure. His confidence grew with 52,000 fans watching him and knowing he can perform on that stage.”
James Tavernier and Haris Vuckic have extended their loan deals with League One Rotherham United until the end of the season.