Newcastle are hoping to push through a club record-breaking deal for AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali within days, the PA news agency understands.
Sporting director Dan Ashworth has been pictured in the Italian city after he flew out to try to negotiate the terms of a move which it is understood would exceed the club’s £60million swoop for Sweden striker Alexander Isak last summer.
Reports from Italy have suggested the 23-year-old, who is expected to captain his country in their opening Group D fixture against France at the European Under-21s Championships on Thursday evening, has agreed to the switch.
A successful conclusion to the talks would take Newcastle’s transfer spending under their new owners past the £300million mark.
Head coach Eddie Howe has identified Tonali as the holding midfielder he needs to allow Bruno Guimaraes in particular to thrive in an advanced role.
Howe has vowed to strengthen his squad for the new campaign, during which the Magpies will play Champions League football for the first time since the 2002-03 season, as he attempts to challenge on both the domestic and European fronts.
The 45-year-old guided the club to a fourth-place Premier League finish and the Carabao Cup final last season as they took a major step forward, but he is expecting a response from the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea this time around in the race for the top four.
Howe has been at pains to point out the spending restrictions under which the club must operate, but at the same time has signalled his intention to recruit quality rather than quantity this summer.
Tonali, who was a substitute in the senior Italy side’s 2-1 Euro 2024 qualifier defeat by England in March, made 48 appearances for Milan in all competitions last season and started both legs of their Champions League semi-final defeat by city rivals Inter.