Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has admitted that the club came close to landing Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare in the final few days of the transfer window.

It was reported by  L’Equipe (via Sport Witness) back in December that Tottenham Hotspur were possible suitors for Soumare, who was tipped to leave during the January window.

The 20-year-old, whose skill on the ball and physical prowess has seen him being dubbed as the ‘new Paul Pogba’, has extremely impressive since breaking into Lille’s team last season (Daily Mail).

Bruce admitted that the Magpies had a club-record bid accepted for the 20-year-old midfielder, only for the Frenchman to later have a change of heart.

The Newcastle boss also claimed that the midfielder rejected the move as he wanted to keep his options open for the summer.

While Bruce refused to reveal the identity of the player, the Shields Gazette reports that it was Soumare he was talking about.

The publication quotes the 59-year-old as saying: “It would be unfair on the player if I said who he was. (He was from) abroad, yes.

“But I don’t want anyone to be cynical about this bid. We were booked to go on a plane. That is exactly what happened. We thought we were really, really close, but unfortunately, the boy decided to stay where he was.

“I think with him it was just to keep his options open. He’s only young, and there’s a lot of top clubs who have been linked with him. You’ve got to respect the decision. At the death, it was, ‘we want to keep our options open until the summer’. He changed his mind – otherwise, I wouldn’t have gone on a goose chase. Certainly, I wouldn’t be getting on the plane.

“We had a plane booked to go and meet him, but the boy changed his mind. We thought last weekend we had a chance to bring him in.

“We were more concerned whether or not we could get past the club, but we had the bid accepted.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I do believe that Jose Mourinho’s and Joao Sacramento’s relationship with Lille’s sporting director Luis Campos could work to Spurs’ advantage in this deal. However, it is also clear that we are fairly well stocked in central midfield with the arrival of Gedson Fernandes. So I am not particularly sure we need Soumare

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