Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele was spotted in the north east on Wednesday night as he took in some Championship action between Sheffield United and Sunderland.
The Blades won 2-1 after coming from a goal down to go six points clear of third-placed Middlesbrough but it was the presence of Dembele that raised a few eyebrows.
Fabrizio Romano claims the Barcelona forward is friends with Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus with the pair seated together on Wednesday evening.
Reports at the end of the January transfer window claimed Newcastle were eyeing a move for Dembele this summer, with the Frenchman out of contract at the Camp Nou in 2024.
Liverpool and PSG have also been linked, with the Ligue 1 side believed to be leading the race for his signature. Newcastle have increased their spending power following the takeover of the club last season and have proved an attractive location for a number of players.
Eddie Howe’s side are chasing a Champions League place and have already convinced the likes of Bruno Guimarães and Alexander Isak to join the club despite interest from other clubs.
CBS Sports claim Dembele has a release clause of €50m which will become active this summer. Earlier this month, Barca were banned from making any new signings by La Liga until they raised £178million from player sales.
And with Dembele potentially available at a cut-price fee, the La Liga giants may have to let him leave as they seek to have their transfer ban lifted.