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Ambitious PIF striker chase put to bed as £42m star ‘denies’ Newcastle due to key reason

Newcastle have little hoping in completing an ambitious raid for a €50million (£42.7m) striker after he reportedly ‘denied’ a transfer to the club.

Eddie Howe has already added Chris Wood to his forward ranks but requires another player amid Callum Wilson’s injury. The four-time England international will be out until March after suffering a calf problem in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United.

Trickster Allan Saint-Maximin also went off in that game but made a quick recovery and got on the scoresheet against Watford two weeks ago.

With Joelinton now operating in a midfield role, Newcastle desperately need a new striker to boost their Premier League survival hopes.

According to Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, via Football Italia, they are rivalling Arsenal for Napoli goalscorer Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian boasts a decent record – nine goals in 16 matches so far this campaign.

However, the Serie A star will not come cheap. He is a vital part of the Napoli team and will only move if Newcastle or Arsenal meet his £58m valuation.

An alternative for the Magpies, albeit an ambitious one, was Benfica hitman Darwin Nunez.

Newcastle target in prolific form

He is just 22 years old but is already leading Benfica’s forward line to great effect. His 15 strikes in 16 outings have put the club third in the Portuguese top flight.

Nunez is also gaining valuable Champions League experience with Benfica. He got a brace as they recorded a shock 3-0 victory over Barcelona in September.

Reports in December claimed Newcastle official Steven Nickson had been in contact with Benfica over Nunez’s availability.

That came amid the Uruguayan’s huge price drop, from €120m (£102.5m) to €50m.

But according to Sport Witness, who cite Portuguese newspaper O Jogo, Newcastle will struggle to complete a deal.

That’s because Nunez ‘is not seduced’ by the idea of moving to St James’ Park. He doesn’t want to go from playing in Europe to a relegation scrap.

As a result, the star has ‘denied’ Newcastle, forcing them to search for other attacking targets.

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Magpies boss talks third January transfer

Meanwhile, Howe has appeared in a press conference during Newcastle’s warm-weather training camp in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Magpies are closing in on the signing of Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes. The Brazilian is set to undergo a medical today.

Howe did not confirm Guimaraes was on his way, but the manager has teased a third January arrival.

“We’re hopeful that we’re getting closer to completing a transfer for a player,” he told reporters.

“We’ll try and give you that update as soon as we have it but, fingers crossed, we’re close to getting one over the line.

“From my perspective, I don’t imagine that would be the end. Whether that turns into reality, who knows.

“Things change very late in this window as everybody knows. It can be quite unpredictable in the last couple of days, with lots of things maybe happening that we didn’t expect.

“We’re open. We’re working hard to improve the squad. Our biggest aim is to give the team the best chance of staying in the league.”

READ MORE: Newcastle plot late double Prem raid as West Ham ‘discussions’ ramp up

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