NEWCASTLE UNITED are lining up a potential club-record summer move for long-standing transfer target Moussa Diaby – and are also hoping to prise Scott McTominay from Manchester United.

Having largely kept their powder dry during the January transfer window, the Magpies are set to make significant investments into the playing squad this summer.

To a certain extent, the level of their spending will be dictated by whether or not they qualify for the Champions League, but whatever happens in the remaining two months of the current campaign, Newcastle’s recruitment team will be working with Eddie Howe to attempt to engineer major improvements to the squad.

Diaby was one of Newcastle’s key targets last summer, but despite holding a series of talks with officials at Bayer Leverkusen, the Magpies were unable to pull off a deal for the 23-year-old France international.

At the time, Diaby had been earmarked for the right-attacking role in Howe’s preferred 4-3-3 formation, and while Miguel Almiron’s form for the majority of the season has made him an automatic pick in that position, there is still a desire to strengthen that area of the pitch the summer.

Diaby continues to be of significant interest, although his form with Leverkusen this season means it will remain difficult to engineer a deal when the transfer window reopens.

The forward, who is contracted to Leverkusen until the summer of 2025, has scored 12 goals in all competitions this term, making him his club’s leading scorer, and has also weighed in with four Bundesliga assists.

His performances have helped Leverkusen climb to eighth in the Bundesliga table and reach the last eight of the Europa League, and the German club continue to be extremely reluctant to sell their leading attacking asset.

There has been talk of a €100m valuation on Diaby’s head within the German press, and while that figure seems somewhat fanciful, there is a clearly a strong determination within the Leverkusen hierarchy to extract the maximum possible income if the Frenchman is sold.


Newcastle would almost certainly have to exceed the £63m club-record fee that was shelled out to sign Alexander Isak in order to land Diaby, but there appears to be a willingness to do just that to land a marquee addition this summer.

McTominay is another long-standing target who will be revisited this summer, with Howe determined to strengthen the heart of his midfield following the departure of Jonjo Shelvey in January and subsequent failure to immediately replace the Nottingham Forest-bound playmaker.

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has limited McTominay’s first-team opportunities this season, instead preferring to play with a combination of Casemiro, Fred and the currently-injured Christian Eriksen, and the Old Trafford club are understood to be ready to listen to offers for the 26-year-old.

McTominay underlined his qualities when he scored both of Scotland’s goals in this week’s surprise Euro 2024 qualifiers win over Spain, but his valuation should be within Newcastle’s compass, even if there might have to be some tough negotiations over wages.

The Northern Echo: Scott McTominay celebrates after scoring for Scotland against SpainScott McTominay celebrates after scoring for Scotland against Spain (Image: PA)

While Newcastle’s ownership group accept the current wage ceiling will have to be raised at some stage as the club look to begin competing at the top table of both the Premier League and Champions League, there is a determination to avoid a sudden radical redrawing of the club’s budgetary parameters.

The Magpies return to action against Manchester United this weekend, and with Casemiro suspended following his dismissal against Southampton, there is a good chance McTominay will be lining up against the Magpies at St James’ Park.