Newcastle United’s club-record pursuit of Saido Berahino’s set to go into the final hours of the transfer window.
The relegation-threatened Magpies yesterday made a £21million bid for the West Bromwich Albion striker.
West Brom, however, are reluctant to sell the 22-year-old to Newcastle, presumably given that they consider the Tynesiders as rivals in the fight for Premier League survival.
Newcastle’s bid, and their willingness to pay the fee up front and not in instalments, will test Albion’s resolve to hold on to a player who has not been starting Premier League games in recent weeks.
Jeremy Peace, West Brom’s chairman, is yet to respond to the bid, which trumps the Magpies’ £16m fee paid to Real Madrid for Michael Owen in 2005.
Tottenham are also interested in Berahino, having tried and failed to sign him last summer.
And Berahino’s fate will be decided on deadline day, with deals having to be completed by 11pm tonight.
Berahino was handed a rare start by Tony Pulis in Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Peterborough.
The England Under-21 international scored both goal in a 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns.
Boss Pulis said: “He’s a good player and he can score. Will those be his last goals for the club? We’ll see. That’s the chairman’s decision.”
One incoming move which is expected to go through is the loan signing of Roma striker Seydou Doumbia.
The 28-year-old, an Ivory Coast team-mate of Newcastle’s Cheick Tiote, has been on loan at CSKA Moscow this season.
Doumbia underwent a medical over the weekend, and the deal is expected to be completed today.
Newcastle, back in Premier League action at Everton on Wednesday, are also looking for cover at left-back, but targets Guilherme Siqueira and Lucas Orban have moved elsewhere.
Valencia’s Orban has joined Levante on loan, while Siqueira has moved from Atletico Madrid to Gary Neville’s Valencia.
Florian Thauvin has rejoined Marseille on a six-month loan, having only joined the Tynesiders for £12million in August.
The 23-year-old said: “I am very happy to come back to my friends in a squad that I know quite well, even if there have been some changes.
“I met the coach (Michel), everything went well. He asked me how I was, if I felt good and if I felt ready to start the new adventure. I told him that I was ready and that I could not wait to start.”
Asked about his experience at Newcastle, Thauvin – who has had five starts in his 16 appearances and scored once – added: “It was a new experience, I learnt new things.
“It gave me a bit of time to think about what I had been through here, and to better analyse what I had done with Marseille.
“It was good for me to be able to think about that more clearly. I think that this experience allowed me to learn a lot.”
Thauvin’s loan deal has no option to buy.
Meanwhile, Newcastle striker Emmanuel Riviere has been linked with a return to France with Lille.
A knee injury has restricted Riviere to just one substitute appearance so far this season.
The 25-year-old joined Newcastle from Monaco for £5million in the summer of 2014.
Watford have signed ex-Atletico Madrid midfielder Mario Suarez from Fiorentina for an undisclosed fee, on a four-and-a-half-year deal.