NEWCASTLE United will step up their bid to sign St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang over the weekend – and could also bid for his team-mate Kurt Zouma.
The Magpies’ interest in Aubameyang is well known, and he still tops their transfer hitlist.
And quotes from the Gabon star last night, in which he spoke highly of the club and its fans, have raised hopes that he could be persuaded to move to Tyneside.
However, Newcastle officials are not getting too excited, and know that Aubameyang is keeping his options open, with Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain the latest teams to be linked with the 24-year-old.
But he remains the Magpies’ top target, and they hope to progress talks with St Etienne over the next few days.
Aubameyang said: “I will choose England before any other destination.
“My dream has always been to play in one of the top two leagues in the world.
“Newcastle is a good club and St James’s Park is a monumental stadium where there is passionate fans.”
The fact remains, though, that United still haven’t made a bid for the frontman.
However, reports coming out of France last night suggested the Magpies were preparing a £25million double swoop on St Etienne for Aubameyang and teenage centre-half Zouma.
The 18-year-old has emerged as a possible target for Pardew’s side as they look to bolster their defensive ranks.
The France Under-20 international is powerfully built and stands at 6ft 2in tall, and has already made 40 appearances for his club since his debut at the age of 16. St Etienne believe they can get around £10m for the defender, who has attracted interest from Chelsea and Atletico Madrid.
It is unlikely Newcastle will be willing to pay that much for an 18-year-old, however.