Lyon have “categorically denied” claims that Newcastle United have agreed a fee for their central midfield star Bruno Guimaraes.
The Tyneside club been actively pursuing reinforcements this month to bolster their chances of beating the drop in the Premier League — the Magpies are currently 18th in the table.
A host of high-profile names have been bandied about since the January window opened, and reports suggested on Wednesday that they were closing in on Guimaraes from Lyon.
A number of reputable sources were claiming a fee in the region of €40m had been accepted by OL and the Brazilian was set to undergo a medical ahead of a move to the north-east of England.
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However, Lyon have now gone on record to strenuously falsify the reports linking their midfield maestro with Eddie Howe’s side, going as far as to “categorically deny” that they accepted a bid.
A statement on their official website read: “Olympique Lyonnais categorically denies the false information disseminated by many media reporting an agreement between Newcastle and OL for the transfer of Brazilian international midfielder Bruno Guimaraes.
“In this transfer window period where the slightest rumour is often presented as reality, Olympique Lyonnais reminds that only information officially released by the club is to be taken into consideration.”
Guimaraes has emerged as one of most complete central midfielders across Europe since trading Athletico Paranaense for the Groupama Stadium in 2020, with his name now heavily associated with some of the continent’s leading lights and heavyweight clubs.
Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit recently backed Mikel Arteta to bring Guimaraes to the capital, labelling the 24-year-old “a physical guy with very good technique, vision and mentality.”
Such is his command of the midfield area and ‘very good vision’ according to Petit, that he has played more passes into the final third (226) than any other midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season.
Only two midfielders in Europe's top five divisions have created 35+ chances, made 35+ tackles and completed 35+ take-ons so far in 2021/22:
◎ Bernardo Silva
◉ Bruno Guimarães
That's why they want to keep him. 👀 pic.twitter.com/KGvshe03zi
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 26, 2022
In fact, only two midfielders in Europe’s top five divisions have created 35+ chances, made 35+ tackles and completed 35+ take-ons so far in 2021/22: Bernardo Silva and Guimaraes.
Recently flush with cash, there is no question the recruitment of Guimaraes to St James’ Park would have been a real coup for Howe and Newcastle’s chance of safety. But, for now a potential transfer is dead in the water according to Lyon, and Howe may be forced to seek fresh recruits elsewhere.