NEWCASTLE UNITED have identified teenage Brazilian Andrey Santos as a leading January target as they continue their policy of looking to pluck the best emerging talent from around the world.

Santos, an 18-year-old midfielder who currently plays in his homeland with Vasco da Gama, has been on the Magpies’ radar for the last few months after forcing his way into the first team at his Rio-based side.

He is contracted to Vasco da Gama until 2027, but there is an expectation within Brazil that he will move to Europe in the next 12 months to further his footballing development.

Barcelona have been heavily linked with a possible move, but with the La Liga club’s financial situation continuing to place significant restrictions on their ability to act in the transfer market, Newcastle are monitoring the situation closely and are set to make an approach of their own when the transfer window reopens in January.

Newcastle have their own restrictions to work around, with the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play regulations limiting the amount they can spend on transfer fees and wages, and while they will continue to target a number of more established players, with Leicester City’s James Maddison still at the top of their wanted list, they have adopted a clear policy of trying to bring in emerging talent before their prices rocket.

Their acquisition of highly-rated teenager Garang Kuol fits the template perfectly, with the 18-year-old, who is currently representing Australia at the World Cup, set to go out on loan after he completes his move to Tyneside in January.

Santos would not be loaned if he was to join at the start of next year, but there would be an expectation that he would take time to settle and would be unlikely to feature prominently in the first team in his first six months in England.

Luring him to the North-East could be a challenge, although the presence of both Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton in Newcastle’s current starting side would clearly help in terms of being able to promote an environment where it would be easier for Santos to settle.

The youngster, who is an established Brazil Under-20 international, has just one season of senior football under his belt, but is already rated at around £25m.

Newcastle’s recruitment team would attempt to negotiate a deal that would see a hefty chunk of any fee being dependent on future clauses, and are expected to make formal contact with senior officials at Vasco da Gama shortly.