Newcastle launch late rival approach with superior offer for £16.5m prospect – report

Newcastle United have launched a late rival approach to sign LOSC Lille prospect Thiago Maia, according to Le10 Sport.

The Santos product joined Les Dogues in 2017 for €14million (£12.8m), but fell to the fringes of Christophe Galtier’s plans at the Stade Pierre Mauroy last season having been a mainstay of the starting line-up following his arrival.

After starting 28 of his 34 Ligue 1 appearances in the 2017/18 term, Maia earned just eleven opening call-ups in the following campaign, and took to the field a further 14 times from the bench, as he recorded less than half as many minutes of action.

Despite playing a reduced role in Lille’s plans as they clinched the runners-up spot behind Paris Saint-Germain, Maia could become the next player to leave the Les Dogues squad that has been ravished by clubs across Europe this summer.

Influential forward Nicolas Pepe has joined Arsenal for a club-record £72million, midfield anchor Thiago Mendes has joined Olympique Lyonnais for €22.5million (£20.6m) plus €4.5m (£4.1m) in add-ons, while AC Milan have poached Portuguese talent Rafael Leao for a reported €35million (£32.1m).

Serie A side Genoa have been in talks with Lille to sign Boa-Vista-born Maia for an initial €7million along with 50 per cent of any funds raised from a future sale, but Newcastle have stepped in with a greater contract proposal.

United had courted the 22-year-old last summer, but opted against making a move to sign the former Brazil youth international, who is now valued at £16.5million by his French top-flight side, according to L’Equipe as cited by The Shields Gazette.

It is not specified what contract Toon chiefs have tabled to Maia, who earns £49,283-a-week at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, and it remains to be seen how much United value the 2-cap Under 23s international, who represented Brazil at the 2016 Olympics.

Maia is also yet to decide if he would prefer to leave Lille for England or Italy, or stay in France, after averaging 2.8 tackles, 2.0 interceptions, 1.6 blocks, and 1.6 clearances per ninety minutes during his Ligue 1 outings last season.

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