NEWCASTLE UNITED are close to completing a £250,000 deal for Peruvian midfielder Rodrigo Vilca.

The 21-year-old is set to become the Magpies’ sixth summer signing, although he is regarded as more of a long-term prospect than a player ready to make an immediate first-team impact.

Indeed, once his signing is confirmed, Newcastle could well look to send him out on loan immediately rather than keep him on Tyneside on the fringes of their first-team squad.

Vilca currently plays for Peruvian side Deportivo Municipal, who are 12th in their nation’s top-flight, and has scored three goals in nine league starts this season.

He is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in South America, having recently made his senior international debut for Peru.

A Lima-born attacking midfielder, whose technical ability is regarded as one of his primary assets, he has spent the last three seasons in Deportivo’s senior squad after progressing through the club’s junior set-up.

If he signs for the Magpies, he will be following in the footsteps of compatriot Nolberto Solano, who established himself as a fans’ favourite on Tyneside after becoming the first Peruvian to play in the Premier League.

Newcastle currently have two South Americans – Paraguayan Miguel Almiron and Brazilian Joelinton – and Steve Bruce has been explaining why he left the former out of his side for the opening game of the season at West Ham United.

Having been a second-half substitute as Newcastle won at the London Stadium, Almiron laid on Ryan Fraser’s winner as he started Tuesday’s Carabao Cup victory over Blackburn Rovers, and Bruce says he only left the 26-year-old out of his side last Saturday because he wanted to ensure sufficient physical strength to be able to match West Ham.

“I left him out, but he’s a manager’s delight,” said Bruce. “I made a call on Saturday because I felt we had to match West Ham physically, otherwise the game might have been out of sight. He’ll be fine. He put in a wonderful pass (against Blackburn), he’s a great player.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s Carabao Cup third-round game at Morecambe will take place on Wednesday, September 23 (7.45pm).