Since Newcastle’s takeover was rubber-stamped, the Magpies have made a habit of mirroring Chelsea’s transfer pursuits.
The latest saga to fall into such a category has seen the Tynesiders try to snatch Everton left-back Lucas Digne from under Marina Granovskaia’s nose.
Chelsea continue to be linked with the France international as Tuchel aims to fill the enormous void left by Ben Chilwell after it was confirmed he would miss the rest of the season through injury.
Sky Sports journalist Keith Downie reports that Howe’s side have tabled a cash plus player bid as they attempt to bolster their ranks in a bid to secure their Premier League status. The finer details of the deal include a £22.5million offer, with Magpies midfielder Sean Longstaff heading to Merseyside as part of the move.
The report continues by noting Digne would prefer a move to the reigning European champions, meaning Tuchel has been given plenty of encouragement to continue his pursuit.
Merseyside insider Steve Hughes claim the Frenchman is eager for a move away from Goodison Park in a discussion with Sky Sports.
Hughes kickstarted by explaining why Everton would be open to allowing such a talented player to leave in the mid-season window.
“First and foremost, why he’s suddenly available isn’t down to a drop in form, he has simply had a falling out with the manager,” he said.
“Throughout his time at Everton he has been an offensive full-back. He has basically been Everton’s key creator on that side of the pitch under [Marco] Silva and Carlo Ancelotti. Then [Rafael] Benítez comes in and says he wants him to play more defensively, which he does initially, but around that same time his form does seem to drop below his standards.
“He’s grown frustrated and had an argument with Benitez saying ‘I feel like you’re restricting what I can do for the team and what I can offer’.
“Benitez, notoriously, is quite stubborn and he took issue with this and showed him the door.”
Hughes continued by hailing Digne as a ‘Champions League-quality’ signing who can emulate Chilwell in an attacking sense.
“He is a top, top left-back. Even at Everton, I think he could’ve been operating for Champions League sides but they tied him down,” he said.
“At Everton last season, in terms of goal-creating actions he ranked second only behind James Rodriguez. In terms of shot-creating actions, he ranked third behind Richarlison and James. That captures how much of a creative full-back he is.”
Hughes wrapped up by addressing the slight concern he has when assessing Chelsea’s chances of convincing Digne to move to Chelsea as opposed to St James’ Park.
“With the issues at Chelsea, he is an absolute perfect profile to match Chilwell’s and come into the side,” he added.
“The only grey area is that Everton have spent money and they’re banking on the sale of him.”