Newcastle United prepare ‘summer raid’ for £40m Lionel Messi teammate taking Bundesliga by storm

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Exequiel PalaciosBayer Leverkusen midfielder Exequiel Palacios
Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Exequiel Palacios
Newcastle United are reportedly considering raiding the Bundesliga leaders at the end of the season

Newcastle United are preparing a summer raid for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Exequiel Palacios, according to reports. A World Cup winner with Argentina last season, the 25-year-old has been instrumental in Leverkusen’s success under Xabi Alonso. Die Werkself are unbeaten and eight points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.

Palacios only penned a contract extension until 2028 in September, meaning the German outfit are in no position to sell. A muscle injury has ruled him out in recent weeks but, before that, the Argentine formed a formidable partnership with ex-Arsenal man Granit Xhaka.

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Reports from German outlet Bild now claim Newcastle are considering an approach at the end of the season. Midfield has proven a problem area for Eddie Howe throughout the campaign, with Sandro Tonali, Joelinton, Joe Willock and Elliot Anderson spending time on the sidelines. The Magpies have relied heavily on Bruno Guimaraes, Sean Longstaff and youngster Lewis Miley this season. Toon chiefs were targeting a midfielder in January but FFP/PSR constraints hamstrung their options.

Palacios, a defensive-minded midfielder, would bring a fresh profile to United should he arrive. Newcastle have lacked an enforcer to protect the back four, with Guimaraes playing there for most of Howe’s tenure. The Brazilian reminded Newcastle of his attacking talents during the recent 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest - where he bagged a brace. Signing a holding player would give Guimaraes licence to get forward regularly.

The Bild report suggests Leverkusen would entertain offers of around £40million for Palacios. Aston Villa are also named as another Premier League club monitoring his situation.

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