Newcastle United have set their sights on Hellas Verona duo Giovanni Simeone and Antonin Barak ahead of the January transfer window, according to reports. The Magpies already find themselves embroiled in the battle for Premier League survival this season and will be looking to lead a fruitful recruitment drive at the turn of the year.
Newcastle have failed to win a single Premier League match since the beginning of the campaign and currently sit 19th in the table, level on points with basement boys Norwich City.
They are five points adrift of safety and will be desperate to hit their stride under the guidance of new manager Eddie Howe, who was appointed to replace Steve Bruce on a permanent basis earlier this month.
He has reportedly been promised sufficient funds to improve Newcastle’s playing squad in January, with a number of high-profile names having been linked with the club as a result of their newly-found riches.
The likes of Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Porto winger Luis Diaz are said to be on Newcastle’s radar, but it seems as though the Magpies could prioritise a double swoop for two of Hellas Verona’s prized assets instead.
Simeone and Barak have been identified as priority targets at St James’ Park, according to TuttoHellasVerona.
JUST IN: West Ham fans banned from Europe as UEFA come down hard on Hammers
The former is currently on loan at Hellas Verona from Cagliari, but has enjoyed a stunning start to the season with nine league goals to his name.
His parent club would reportedly be willing to sell for around £10.1million if Newcastle decide to act on their interest in his signature in January.
Meanwhile, Barak is wholly owned by Hellas Verona and has maintained his upward trajectory after an impressive campaign last time around.
The Czech playmaker scored on seven occasions in all competitions last season and has already chipped in with four goals and a pair of assists since the beginning of the current campaign.
He is rated highly by those in Verona and, given his importance to the side, will not be sold for less than £21m in January.
It remains to be seen whether Newcastle will be able to land both players in January as Howe gets to work on reshaping his squad ahead of the Premier League run-in.
Minority shareholder Amanda Staveley, who has emerged as the public face of the club’s new ownership group, has already vowed to back the 43-year-old in the mid-season window.
She told Newcastle’s YouTube channel that it will be crucial to invest in the mid-season market to give Howe and his backroom team the best possible chance of achieving top-flight survival at the end of the campaign.
FOLLOW OUR NEW DAILY EXPRESS SPORT INSTAGRAM PAGE
“We’ve got a robust business plan and we’re developing that every week,” explained Staveley.
“January is a monster so we’re preparing for the transfer window. It’s not a window that we would ordinarily want to invest in, because you don’t normally get the right deals, but that’s something that is important at the moment.
“And then preparing alongside all the teams, I think we’ve got a lot of meetings set up over the next few weeks and we look forward to working with everybody.”
Newcastle will be hoping to make a winning start to life under Howe in their next Premier League match against Brentford on Saturday afternoon.