Newcastle United just ‘£4m away’ from sealing standout deal for Chris Wood replacement

Newcastle United are reportedly close to agreeing a deal for a South American star wanted by Real Madrid.

Newcastle United are said to be close to agreeing a deal for highly-rated attacking midfielder Matheus Franca.

90Min have claimed the Magpies are heavily involved in negotiations over a deal for the highly-rated youngster after seeing an initial £14m offer rejected by the Brazilian club. The report states Flamengo want a deal worth around £18m before they will allow one of their prize assets to depart.

The 18-year-old has enjoyed a spectacular introduction into life at first-team level after making his debut as a substitute in a 1-0 home defeat against Santos in December 2021. A first start followed less than a month later and he has gone on to score seven goals in his first 28 appearances at senior level.

“He has many important aspects to his game,” Flamengo U20s coach, Fabio Matias, told GloboEsporte shortly after the youngster broke into the senior side.

“In addition to technical and tactical ability, he has a very good understanding of the game. That makes him stand out because he interprets spaces well. The most talented players have an understanding of space and how to manage that. He also has the ability to be decisive in front of goal and is a great finisher.”

Brazil's Flamengo Matheus Franca celebrates after scoring against Colombia's Deportes Tolima during the Copa Libertadores football tournament round of sixteen second leg match at Macarana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 6, 2022. (Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP) (Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images)

Lyon and Real Madrid are also said to be interested in Franca - but it is Newcastle that are said to be progressing with a deal as the Magpies look to establish themselves as a big player in the South American market.

The likes of Boca Juniors midfielder Alan Varela, Santos forward Angelo Gabriel and Vasco da Gama prospect Andrey Santos are all believed to have been watched by United recruitment staff - although the latter has now completed a move to join Chelsea.