Newcastle United are ready to fork over £17 million and £100,000-a-week for Moses Simon but, according to Own Goal, the Nantes winger would rather stay in France beyond the summer.
Last month, after Simon produced a dazzling performance in Nigeria’s African Cup of Nations victory over eventual runners-up Egypt, reports emerged suggesting that Newcastle had turned down the chance to sign the fleet-footed winger in the recent past.
If the Magpies could turn back the clock, one suspects they would make a different decision this time around.
Because with Simon in the form of his life – following up his outstanding performances at AFCON with a fine free-kick winner against Reims last weekend – his market value has skyrocketed over the last few months.
According to Own Goal Nigeria, Newcastle have agreed a £17 million fee with Nantes ahead of the summer transfer window. £12.5 million will be paid up front, with the rest in add-ons.
What’s more, a side now bankrolled by Saudi Arabian billionaires are willing to make Simon one of their best-paid players on £100,000-a-week.
The former Levante and KRC Genk forward admits that Leeds United tried to sign him during the January window.
“My agent told me about some offers. Leeds came calling with strong offer and (it was my) intention of sealing the deal immediately,” says the 26-year-old.
“My club want me to finish the season with FC Nantes. And I really want to contribute to ensure we secure a Europa League ticket at the end of the season. We are pushing hard for that.”
It is understood that Leeds haven’t given up on securing Simon’s signature. Marcelo Bielsa doesn’t tend to give up on his top targets so easily, as Dan James found out last summer.
As it stands, however, the in-demand attacker would prefer to stay in Ligue 1. No less than six French clubs have made their interest known.