HAMBURG are growing increasingly confident of beating Newcastle United to the signature of Hertha Berlin striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga.
Lasogga has been one of Newcastle’s main attacking targets all summer, and Magpies officials have held a number of conversations with their counterparts in Berlin in an attempt to engineer a deal for the highly-rated 22-year-old.
Lasogga, who has entered the final year of his current deal in the German capital, is understood to have visited Tyneside with his representatives to visit Newcastle’s Benton training base and discuss a possible switch to the Premier League.
However, he has also been discussing his future with senior figures at Hamburg and Hertha Berlin, and it looks increasingly unlikely that he will leave Germany this summer.
Hertha would like to keep the Germany Under-21 international, even it meant potentially missing out on a lucrative fee because he was able to leave for nothing next summer.
Lasogga has not ruled out remaining with his permanent employers, but his first preference appears to be a permanent move to Hamburg despite their struggles last season.
Hamburg needed a relegation play-off to secure their Bundesliga status, with Lasogga’s 13 goals in 20 matches playing a major role in their survival.
Hertha Berlin rate the striker at around 10m Euros, a fee that Newcastle would be reluctant to match in one instalment.
Hamburg could not afford to pay that kind of fee either, but are hoping the inclusion of Per Ciljan Skjelbred in any deal could prove crucial.
Skjelbred spent last season on loan to Hertha Berlin, and Lasogga’s permanent employers have already spoken of their desire to retain the Norwegian, who is surplus to requirements at Hamburg.
Newcastle have ruled out using any of their players as a makeweight in a deal, so Hamburg find themselves in the driving seat provided they can meet Lasogga’s wage demands, which are substantial.
“If Pierre wants to continue his career in Hamburg, I do believe that we have good ways to keep him,” said Hamburg sporting director Oliver Kreuzer.
Newcastle are monitoring Steven Caulker’s position at Cardiff City, with the defender expected to move this summer in the wake of the Welsh side’s relegation to the Championship.
However, the Magpies are unlikely to sign a centre-half unless either Fabricio Coloccini or Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa leaves Tyneside before the transfer window closes.