Newcastle United continue to look for more attacking reinforcements and reports have named Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata as a possible target.
A £25m deal for Chris Wood has already been struck but Newcastle’s plan was always to sign more than one forward and that plan was formed even before star striker Callum Wilson went down with a nasty calf injury.
With Wilson sidelined until March, plans are being accelerated for a number of strikers and the Daily Star state that talks have been held with Atalanta over a deal for 30-year-old Zapata.
Zapata has bagged nine goals in 16 Serie A games this season but has entered the final 18 months of his contract, and Atalanta are said to be ready to cash in now if the right offer arrives.
Newcastle are thought to have suggested a fee north of €30m (£25m), but Atalanta instead value Zapata at closer to €45m (£37.6m).
The feeling is that negotiations with Atalanta are more exploratory than official, with Newcastle preferring moves for other strikers but searching for viable backups in case they are frustrated in their efforts elsewhere.
Benfica’s Darwin Nunez is a rumoured target but the Uruguay international is valued at around €60m (£50m) and Newcastle are yet to commit to paying that sum.
90min understands that talks also remain open with Reims over a deal for 19-year-old Hugo Ekitike. Priced at around £30m, the Frenchman is being watched by a number of top sides, including Paris Saint-Germain, but Newcastle want a deal done this month and are trying to steal a march on the competition.
A new centre-back and midfielder are also high on Howe’s wish list. At the back, Newcastle continue to push for Sevilla’s Diego Carlos but have found it hard to convince the La Liga title hopefuls to sell amid continued uncertainly over the future of teammate Jules Kounde.