Newcastle United are reportedly attempting to sign Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes before Monday’s deadline.
According to widespread reports, the Magpies had agreed a £30million for the Brazilian, with a medical set to take place in the coming days.
However, Lyon “categorically denied” those reports, highlighting there is still work to do if Guimaraes is to move to Tyneside this month.
The highly-rated playmaker has attracted interest from the likes of Arsenal and Juventus.
Should the deal go through, the Magpies will be getting a player that has achieved success in his homeland with Athletico Paranaense and became an Olympic champion with Brazil last year.
NewcastleWorld takes a look into the mindset of Guimaraes as news is awaited over the progression of his potential move to St James Park:
‘There are moments where I should be more egotistical’
Speaking to Brazilian outlet Globo earlier this month, the 24-year-old midfielder discussed playing in Ligue 1 and gave an open and honest assessment of his playing style.
He said: “In France, there are moments where we play like robots, nobody tries to dribble, to find a pass, for example.
“That irritates me sometimes, it is a bit frustrating. I think that those who have talent should profit from that, try to dribble, try to link moves. If you do that, your game will be complete.”
“There are moments where I should be more egotistical, as in try to finish well. Because I have a good pass, I think always that my pass will be what is necessary, so I pass when it is the moment to shoot.
‘My next goal is to learn English’
Guimaraes captured the attention of a number of European clubs with his performances for Brazilian side Athletico Paranaense - and it was Lyon that won the race for his services.
The midfielder moved to the Ligue 1 club after they agreed a fee of around £18million for his services in the final days of the January 2020 transfer window.
It is also believed the two clubs agreed to place a 20% sell-on clause in the deal, meaning Paranaense could earn around £6million from the potential transfer to Newcastle.
The Covid-19 pandemic cut short his introduction into life in Ligue 1 - but he has gone on to become a key component in the Lyon side over the last 18 months.
Discussing his experiences of life in France, he told Adidas website gameplay-a.com: “In the beginning, it was hard to stay positive, every time I turned on the television the news was worse than the day before. It was strange to be unable to help when everything was so bad.
“The only thing I could do to help was to stay at home. I only went out get my groceries or to the pharmacy. During the second wave, I looked at how I could help my compatriots back in Brazil by getting them the essentials. I was worried about my family and my girlfriend back in Brazil.
“The only upside for me was that I had plenty of time to learn French. I did online courses, I watched a lot of local TV, Netflix series like Lupin, films in French, and all that paid off. I can now speak the language after 18 months.
“My next goal is to learn English.”
‘It’s normal to be mentioned like this when you are an Olympic champion’
After adjusting to life in the French top tier, Guimaraes quickly came to the attention of a number of Champions League clubs.
Further success came he played a key role in leading Brazil to Olympic glory with a 2-1 win against Spain in the gold medal match in Tokyo last year.
Guimaraes has been the subject of ongoing transfer speculation over the last 12 months - and gave a clear indication of how he viewed a possible move away from Lyon in a piece with Globo.
He said: “It’s normal to be mentioned like this when you are an Olympic champion, have been called up for the national team and are performing well individually.
“But I don’t really like to think about it. I let my agent manage that.
“There has been a change in management. We talked about it briefly when (ex-sporting director) Juninho was at the club.
“When the time comes, we’ll talk about it again. The focus now is to move up the rankings and put Lyon in the correct position.”
‘It was a magical experience’
Achieving Olympic glory is seen as a key moment in the career of any Brazilian player.
The celebratory scenes that followed Neymar’s decisive penalty kick in the 2016 gold medal match against Germany more than match anything witnessed at a World Cup and Copa America.
Remarkably, that marked the first time a Brazilian side had captured gold at an Olympics - and Guimaraes was part of the side that retained the title in Tokyo last year.
Speaking after his return to France, he told Lyon’s official club website: “It was my dream, and I am very happy to be back here in Lyon.
“Now I have to focus on being here, but I am very happy to have realised this dream.
“It has always been a goal of mine. I will be able to finish my career in peace.
“I am 23 years old, I have time, and I’m happy with this first step, a gold medal, now I have to work to realise the other dreams.
“I do not have any words yet. It’s a pity that there were no fans, but it was a magical experience.”
‘If I want to be a great player, this has to be normal in my life’
Guimarães was given an introduction to competing at the highest level in European football less than a month after joining Lyon when his new side faced Juventus in a Champions League round of 16 tie.
The French club shocked the then-Italian champions as a Memphis Depay penalty gave them an away goals win with the aggregate scores locked at 2-2 after the second leg.
Another shock quickly followed as Lyon sent Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City out with a 3-1 quarter-final win - but their run came to an end in the semi-final with a 3-0 defeat against eventual winners Bayern Munich.
But it was the tie against Juventus and a meeting with one of the greatest players of all-time that left a big impression on Guimaraes as he came face-to-face to current Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.
After the game, he told UOL: “I was going to ask him to swap shirts with him, but he was kind of angry.
“He’s a guy who doesn’t like to lose.
“This is what we have to take as an example; a guy who has won everything but hates to lose.
“I want more and more to have this in my mind, being able to get the good things from these football legends, which is super important.
“I was very nervous and slept badly at night because it was my first Champions League game, as a starter and in the last 16.
“But I thought to myself: ‘If I want to be a great player, this has to be normal in my life. I have to play well against these guys.’
“I was very focused and I felt like I was playing on the street. Obviously, you are nervous to go on the field and when you are out there you get butterflies.
“But when the ball rolls, everything is normal. It’s 11 against 11.”