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Midfielder selects Nice over Newcastle United despite late change of heart – report

Late Wednesday night / Thursday morning brought up claims that a deal to sign Mario Lemina had been revived.

The Mail said talks between Southampton and Newcastle United had resumed, with Mike Ashley approving a £ 4m fee for Mario Lemina.

Newcastle / Ashley have accepted that they have to “hurry up” if they want this deal to come about and Ligue 1 clubs Nice have offered £ 3.5m for the midfielder, who Southampton has no interest in.

The mail added that Newcastle had made their offer of personal terms and conditions and offered a three-year contract to Lemina. The expectation was that a deal could be struck by the weekend if the player was convinced to join Newcastle United …

Fast forward to Thursday evening (tonight) and RMC journalist Loic Tanzi reported that Mario Lemina flew to Nice, the midfielder has come to France and will sign a three-year deal with the Ligue 1 club.

Back in June, Newcastle had talks to sign Mario Lemina from Southampton and the result of those talks between the two clubs was the midfielder joining Tyneside for a £ 4m transfer fee.

However, that deal was stopped when Mike Ashley blocked the deal. The NUFC owner is said to have introduced another age-dependent transfer policy, namely not wanting to pay a transfer fee for players over 27. Mario Lemina turns 28 in September and Ashley had insisted that a deal could only be made if it was a swap with one or more Newcastle players in exchange for the midfielder. Southampton was unsurprisingly absent from Yoshinori Muto, Jeff Hendrick or any of the other undesirable players at St. interested James Park.

After five weeks, we are now on day 44 of the transfer window and not a single NUFC signing, with Mike Ashley’s U-turn apparently willing to actually spend some modest money, which turns out to be too little too late.

Mario Lemina is undesirable with the Saints and only has one year left on his five-year contract, so they are interested in selling something for him and getting something back. However, Southampton, who paid £ 15million for Lemina from Juventus in 2017 and then played 38 Premier League games over the course of his first two years at South Coast Club, never really became her first choice.

Lemina spent 2019/20 on loan at Galatasaray (19 league starts), then with Fulham for 2020/21, making 19 Premier League starts and 11 times on the bench when the Cottagers were relegated.

Newcastle United have been looking for a box-to-box midfielder for some time and, in addition to the preferred position in the middle of the pitch, Mario Lemina can also play on the right side as a winger, full-back or full-back. while he has also played as one of three center-backs in a three / five-man defense.

Another concern is that Lemina started just 25 Ligue 1 games in two years in Marseille before making just 15 Serie A games for Juventus in two years.

However, with Mike Ashley allowing minimal, if any, spending, it seems like even buying a cheap and cheerful, unwanted Southampton reservation is not an option for us.

Elsewhere it is alleged that Southampton will use Lemina’s transfer fee on an offer to buy Adam Armstrong from Blackburn. A deal where Newcastle ironically gets more money than Southampton wanted for Mario Lemina, as a sale clause exists that gives NUFC a significant percentage on every Armstrong sale.

With Newcastle unable to compete with Brentford for Celtics Kristoffer Ajer and not even being able to buy Joe Willock, this reported failure to land Mario Lemina ahead of Nice sums up a transfer window that has left Newcastle United Fans seem to offer no relief …

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