Striker wanted by Newcastle United, Leeds and Arsenal set for move that could end World Cup dream

The striker was linked with a move to the Premier League this summer.

Newcastle United and Arsenal both considered a deal for Espanyol striker Raul de Tomas during the summer transfer window - but now the Spanish international is set to make a move that could end his World Cup dream.

The former Benfica and Real Madrid frontman has attracted the attention of a number of clubs across Europe after hitting form following his move to Espanyol in January 2020.

De Tomas hit 17 goals in 34 appearances last season to take his tally to 45 goals in 89 games in all competitions for the Catalan club.

His form earned him a call-up to the Spain squad for the first time in November 2021 and he has gone on to earn four caps since earnest his first in a 1-0 win in a World Cup qualifier against Greece.

The likes of Bayern Munich, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United also reportedly showed an interest in the striker and Espanyol chief executive Mao Ye suggested a summer move was a possibility.

Speaking in August he said: “There is no Raul de Tomas situation. He arrived later in the pre-season and will need more training time to reach the required level.

“He has given us a lot of quality and he is a key part of the squad. This week, La Liga begins and we hope that ‘RDT’ will continue to contribute for us.

“There are days left in the market. And there are always possibilities (that De Tomas could leave). But we have him in our squad.”

However, reports in Spain have suggested De Tomas is about to complete a move that will all but end his chances of featuring in Luis Enrique’s squad that will travel to Qatar for the World Cup Finals later this year.

Marca have reported De Tomas is close to agreeing a move to Espanyol’s La Liga rivals Rayo Vallecano over the coming days after talks between the two clubs reopened ahead of transfer deadline day.

A move could not be completed before the deadline but De Tomas is now set to make a move outside of the window, meaning he will not feature for his new club until January.

The report suggests De Tomas is happy to join Rayo and ‘stay four months without playing and say goodbye to the World Cup’.