Boss Eddie Howe believes Newcastle proved the doubters wrong after inflicting Aston Villa’s first home league defeat in almost a year.

Fabian Schar’s first-half double and Alex Moreno’s own goal gave the Magpies a deserved 3-1 win in Birmingham.

Ollie Watkins’ 50th Premier League goal for Villa gave the hosts hope but they were unable to mount a comeback.

It was Villa’s first home top-flight defeat since February last year and came after Newcastle had lost six of their last seven league games.

“We answered a lot of questions but it’s just one game and we need to build on the last two results,” said Howe, with Newcastle climbing to seventh.

“It was a big win and performance, the players were really good. It was us of last year.

“We had that good start, it gave us confidence and it was a very good away performance. Now the challenge is to maintain that.

“It’s been frustrating as we’ve done well in the cup competitions away from home but the Premier League seems to have been a different story.

“It was mixed emotions for me because that team is an elite team. The mixed part is that we haven’t seen that for a number of weeks. We looked much like ourselves and we have players coming back.”

Anthony Gordon was denied by Emi Martinez before Schar struck twice in four first-half minutes.

The defender capitalised on poor defending from Douglas Luiz and Ezri Konsa from Kieran Trippier’s corner to open the scoring after 32 minutes.

Soon after Gordon’s shot was deflected over and, when the corner was only half-cleared, the winger’s volley clipped Clement Lenglet, hit the underside of the bar and Schar prodded in.

Newcastle’s dominance continued six minutes after the break when Miguel Almiron – on for Alexander Isak, who came off with a suspected groin injury – robbed Matty Cash and was slipped in by Gordon’s return ball.

His cross reached Jacob Murphy and the winger’s effort went in off the sliding Moreno.

Villa found some fight and after Moussa Diaby had gone close Watkins pulled a goal back with 19 minutes left, firing in Leon Bailey’s cross.

The striker also had a goal disallowed for a tight offside call two minutes later but the hosts could not recover.

Villa remain fourth but will be overhauled by Tottenham if Spurs beat Brentford on Wednesday.

“I spoke with the players and told them I am very proud of them and the supporters after a lot of successful matches here. One loss was always going to come,” said boss Unai Emery, with Villa due to confirm the signing of Morgan Rogers from Middlesbrough in a deal worth £16million.

“We can’t lose our perspective. Winning is better but we are facing seven teams stronger than us, but we have our process. The message is to keep going ahead and try and find comfort in the work that we are doing.

“We are frustrated, a little bit disappointed, but in our perspective we are happy. We weren’t clinical and we conceded more chances and set-pieces than normal.

“We have 43 points. We are going to work and try to keep the distance that we have now and then focus on Saturday (at Sheffield United).”

Newcastle condemned Aston Villa to their first home defeat in the Premier League for almost a year with a stunning 3-1 win.

Two goals in four first-half minutes from Fabian Schar put the Magpies in control before Alex Moreno’s own goal after the break.

Ollie Watkins grabbed a consolation for the hosts, who lost in the league at Villa Park for the first time since last February.

They remain fourth but have played more games than leaders Liverpool and rivals Manchester City and will be caught by Tottenham if they beat Brentford on Wednesday.

Newcastle had lost six of their previous seven league games to slip away from the top four but victory lifted them to seventh, although still 11 points behind Villa.

They thrashed Villa 5-1 in the opening game of the season but since August the direction of travel for the two sides has been different.

Only Sheffield United had previously taken a point from Villa Park this season as Emery’s side mount a surprise Champions League charge, while the Magpies had won just once away.

Yet it was the visitors who dominated from the start and they conjured the first serious chance after 20 minutes. Jacob Murphy’s sumptuous ball found Anthony Gordon with Ezri Konsa for company and he managed to wriggle clear, but Emi Martinez raced out to save.

The Magpies were slicker, with Villa uncharacteristically timid, and Clement Lenglet needed to block Sean Longstaff’s effort after Martinez spilled Murphy’s strike.

Soon after, Gordon broke only to see his drive deflected over as Eddie Howe’s side began to find the gaps – which they then exploited with two quickfire goals.

Douglas Luiz and Konsa got themselves into a mess trying to defend Kieran Trippier’s resulting corner and Schar nipped in to find the net for a 32nd-minute lead.

Four minutes later only a last-ditch Matty Cash clearance denied Gordon a second but Villa were then undone by a corner again.

It was only half-cleared to Gordon and his volley clipped Lenglet to come off the underside of the bar, Schar following up to fire in his second from close range.

The defender had not scored in the league since August 2022 but now had two goals in four minutes.

For all the celebrations, though, the Magpies lost Alexander Isak to injury just before the break and John McGinn nodded over a rare Villa chance in stoppage time.

If Villa thought half-time would ease any woes they were mistaken as they fell further behind six minutes into the second half.

Miguel Almiron, who had replaced Isak, robbed Cash on the halfway line for Gordon to then send him scampering down the right.

The Paraguayan’s delivery found Murphy at the far post and when the winger tried to turn it in, Moreno ultimately bundled it into his own net.

Newcastle should have been cruising but Villa came back fighting and Watkins slipped in Moussa Diaby to round Martin Dubravka only for Schar to mop up.

Dubravka also needed to turn Cash’s shot away before Watkins pulled one back with 19 minutes left when he turned in impressive substitute Leon Bailey’s cross for his 50th Premier League goal.

Two minutes later he was denied by a tight VAR call after slotting in with Newcastle rocking but Villa’s momentum was halted.

Longstaff should have even added a fourth with a minute left, only to be denied by Martinez, as the Magpies held on.

Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson is relishing the prospect of his side hosting his old club Newcastle after Rovers came from behind to beat Wrexham 4-1 at Ewood Park in the FA Cup fourth round.

The League Two visitors were on for an upset when Andy Cannon put them in front in the 19th minute, bringing a huge roar from the 7,000-plus away fans in the ground.

But Blackburn responded in ruthless fashion with goals in quick succession just past the half-hour mark from Sammie Szmodics and then Sam Gallagher as goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo was punished for racing out of his area.

Szmodics, the Championship’s leading scorer this term with 16 goals who had bagged a hat-trick in the 5-2 third-round victory over Cambridge, then netted his second of the night just prior to the interval before Sondre Tronstad wrapped things up in the second half.

Former striker Tomasson – a Newcastle player in 1997-98 – said in his post-match press conference when asked about the fifth-round clash with the Magpies that had been set up: “It’s special.

“When I saw the draw, I was thinking about the Champions League game against Barcelona where we won it 3-2, I thought that could be nice if we were able to win against Wrexham, to see my former club here.

“We know how well Newcastle has performed. So I’m really pleased to see my old club coming here.”

On his team’s display against Wrexham, Tomasson said: “It was a good performance, and when you play the FA Cup it’s about winning.

“A game like this could be extremely dangerous, Wrexham are bringing on a Monday night more than 7,000 fans, they had a great run last season, beating Coventry, almost beating Sheffield United as well. The team have done a very good performance and we are pleased to be through to the next round.”

Aston Villa boss Unai Emery insists he wants to keep hold of “very important” Jacob Ramsey  amid speculation over the midfielder’s future.

It has been reported that Villa need to sell before strengthening their squad due to the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules.

Ramsey, 22, who has been linked with Newcastle, Tottenham and Bayern Munich, is currently recovering from a hamstring injury and remains doubtful for Tuesday night’s home league game against Eddie Howe’s Magpies.

Emery told a press conference: “Jacob Ramsey is a very important player. He grew up in the academy and his progression is getting better.

“His level is increasing a lot and I want to keep him here with us. Of course, there are movements (speculation) around him.

“Maybe there are teams involved in the possibility to sign him because he has a big, big potential at Villa and in England. I want to keep him here, 100 per cent.”

Villa have also been reported to have had a third bid for 21-year-old Middlesbrough striker Morgan Rogers rejected and Emery said: “The club is working hard so some players can leave, then if we can we can add potentially.”

Emery’s side are riding high in fourth place having earned their best-ever points return after 21 Premier League matches, but have won only one of their last four.

They were thumped 5-1 at Newcastle in their opening league game of the season when defender Tyrone Mings sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury, which has ruled him out since.

“It was tough,” Emery said. “Not only the result, but we can remember the moment Tyrone got injured and that was difficult.

“We analysed, we worked and are trying to improve. We will respect them like they deserve – and we are ready.”

Villa’ last three fixtures have been on the road and they return to action at Villa Park, where they have dropped only two points in 10 games this season, for the first time since the end of December.

Emery added: “We are excited. The last match we played here was one month ago so my motivation is very high.”

The Spaniard confirmed Pau Torres (ankle), Lucas Digne (thigh) and Jhon Duran (hamstring) are still out, while Mings and Emi Buendia (knee) remain long-term absentees.

Eddie Howe has promised the Newcastle hierarchy will not ignore their role as “guardians of the club’s future” as they attempt to negotiate a path through a transfer window minefield.

The big-spending Magpies have found themselves thrust into the limelight in recent weeks amid speculation that one of their biggest names could be sold as they juggle the restrictions imposed by profit and sustainability and financial fair play rules with their desire to strengthen their squad.

More than £400million has been spent on transfers since the club’s Saudi-backed owners took charge at St James’ Park in October 2021 and, with the club having reported losses in excess of £70million for each of the two most recent financial years, chief executive Darren Eales has admitted that even their biggest names have their price.

However, asked what would be his desired scenario for the remaining few days of what has proved a difficult January window, head coach Howe said: “Keeping the squad intact and, as the manager, trying to produce a team to win games would be the one for me.

“But we are guardians of the club’s future and we want to make the right decisions for the club’s future and for FFP. We don’t want to breach FFP.

“That is where I will support the decisions that are made for the long term and that will benefit the club.”

Newcastle’s search for reinforcements, which has increased in urgency as a result of summer signing Sandro Tonali’s 10-month ban for breaching betting regulations and a lengthy injury list to which star midfielder Joelinton has been added in the last week, is ongoing but appears to be going nowhere fast.

Howe twice insisted the club had made no approach for Aston Villa midfielder Jacob Ramsey ahead of Tuesday night’s Premier League trip to Villa Park, and was downbeat when asked if fans should prepare themselves for no January signings.

He said: “(The prospect of) no new arrivals increases with every passing hour because the deadline looms.

“Probably what we won’t do is bringing a player in without losing a player the other way, I think that’s impossible.”

By the same token, Howe remains adamant that he wants to keep Kieran Trippier, Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron, all of whom were linked with moves away from St James’ Park last week, as well as Jamaal Lascelles and Bruno Guimaraes, the subjects of further speculation over the weekend.

In the meantime, he will concentrate on the task of trying to end a four-game league losing streak against a Villa side rapidly establishing themselves as this season’s potential top-four gatecrashers.

Unai Emery’s men were trounced 5-1 on Tyneside in the opening game of the season, but much water has passed under the bridge since.

Howe said: “It was a very difficult team to pick, I remember that because there was a lot of strength in depth.

“But I think that showed out qualities and we still have that quality within the squad, so nothing has changed, it’s just the fact that obviously we are missing some of the players who performed that day. But that shows what we’re capable of.”

Eddie Howe praised the resilience of his Newcastle side after their 2-0 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage saw them progress to the FA Cup fifth round for just the second time in 18 years.

Only once since 2006 have the Magpies reached the competition’s last-16, when the side managed by Steve Bruce fell at the quarter-final stage against Manchester City.

Howe emphasised the importance of the club’s last shot at winning a trophy this campaign after they despatched Marco Silva’s team in west London.

“It was a big result for us,” he said. “We knew we wanted to progress. It’s our last chance at silverware this season so I think the expectation from us internally was that we had to give it everything to try and get through.

“I didn’t think it was the most fluent performance we’ve ever delivered but we got the major things right which were resilience, really good character and attitude. We improved in the game, we got better in the second half.

“It’s a competition that we want to do well in. Hopefully there’s more to come.”

Newcastle took the lead six minutes before half-time and Fulham had themselves to blame.

A free-kick hoisted over from the right was dealt with indecisively by the home side’s defence, as two players got in each other’s way in a doomed attempt to clear. From there, the ball dropped to Sean Longstaff, who with a confident swing of his left foot fired Howe’s side in front.

VAR was called upon to adjudicate on a possible handball against Bruno Guimaraes as the ball pinged loosed inside the box, but the goal was deemed legitimate and Newcastle led.

Earlier, Rodrigo Muniz had had Fulham’s best chance of the half, striking low towards Martin Dubravka’s bottom corner and drawing a superb stop from the goalkeeper, who clawed it away at full stretch.

Newcastle doubled their lead on the hour mark, Sven Botman rising to thump a powerful header at goal from Kieran Trippier’s corner. Marek Rodak beat it away with two firm hands but could not get it clear of danger and Dan Burn tapped home.

The result brought welcome respite to what has been a torrid patch of away form for Newcastle, after five consecutive league defeats on the road.

“It’s strange because you look at us in the cups and we’ve been OK (away),” said Howe. “We just haven’t carried it across to the Premier League form, which has been a huge frustration. But I don’t see any reason why we can’t start winning away from home.

“We prided ourselves last year on being hard to score against. We’ve got the players to score at the other end. It’s been missing this year, but hopefully that will return quickly.”

Fulham boss Silva reflected on a a second cup exit in a week following Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final loss to Liverpool.

“That is football sometimes,” he said. “You play well but the key moments were not clear for us and that is our fault. The chances that we did create, with the amount that we created, we should have been more ruthless.

“We arrived so many times in dangerous areas that we have to better decide the last action, the pass or the finish. We have to be stronger in those situations, on the set pieces and with our finishing.”

Newcastle showed signs of being back to their best as they knocked Fulham out of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win at Craven Cottage.

Sean Longstaff scored in the first half before Dan Burn dealt the final blow to Marco Silva’s men in the fourth-round tie.

Newcastle, who last played on January 13 and are without a league win in four, looked fresh as they inflicted more cup misery on Fulham, ending their hopes of silverware following their Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Liverpool earlier this week.

The west Londoners were sloppy in possession and after Marek Rodak bailed his team-mates out with a quick-thinking stop to deny Kieran Trippier’s cross-shot, Anthony Gordon’s long-range effort missed the target, whistling past the Fulham goalkeeper’s left-hand post.

Rodrigo Muniz was given a rare start and the Brazil forward was taking his opportunity, forcing a fingertip save from Martin Dubravka before his turn of pace saw Fabian Schar give away a yellow card on the break after 21 minutes.

Fulham lacked cohesion after manager Silva made seven changes from the XI that played in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup exit.

A great chance went begging for Newcastle when Alexander Isak rounded the keeper but failed to pull the trigger in time as the ball trickled out for a goal-kick.

But Newcastle breached Fulham’s defence as the hosts’ frailties continued into the 39th minute.

Trippier tested the waters with another inswinging cross which seemed routine for Fulham to deal with.

Kenny Tete and Bobby De Cordova-Reid ran into each other instead of clearing their lines before the ball fell to Longstaff, who powered home from inside the area.

Silva turned to the bench in the form of the experienced Willian and the Brazilian swung the momentum in the Cottagers’ favour.

After the winger’s long-range goal was chalked off for offside, he enjoyed neat touches and exchanges around the Newcastle area as Silva’s side searched for an equaliser.

But it was the Magpies who punished the home side after they failed to clear their lines once again in the 61st minute.

Trippier’s corner found Sven Botman, whose header had too much power for Rodak keep hold of the ball.

The Cottagers’ back-up keeper parried the ball into the path of Burn, who finished first-time from inside the six-yard area.

Eddie Howe has admitted that star midfielder Joelinton could be sold this summer as Newcastle wrestle with financial restrictions.

The Magpies have spent the last week resisting overtures from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for England full-back Kieran Trippier, while strikers Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron have also been linked with moves away from Tyneside after chief executive Darren Eales revealed that the club might have to trade players to comply with Premier League profit and sustainability rules.

Negotiations over a contract extension for Joelinton, who has 18 months remaining on his existing deal, have stalled, prompting suggestions the £40million Brazilian may have played his last game for the club after undergoing surgery which will rule him out for the rest of the season.

Asked if that could prove the case, head coach Howe replied: “I’m not a fortune-teller and I certainly hope that is not the case. There is a possibility that could be the case, but I don’t know.

“Eighteen months [left on a contract] is a vulnerable time for a club. The club will need to tie Joe down to a longer-term contract or there is a possibility he will be sold in the summer. That is just the reality of the situation.”

However, Howe added: “As his manager, I’m determined for him to stay. I love him as a person and a player, so that would be my wish, for him to sign a long-term contract.

“But of course there’s more to it than that. There’s Joe’s wishes and what he wants. Before he signs a contract he has to be entirely happy with everything. We’re not at that stage yet.”

Howe would have much preferred to have spent his club’s mid-winter break fully concentrating on Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round trip to Fulham, but in the event, found himself fending off approaches for players he regards as key components of his squad.

To his relief – to date, at least – the club’s owners, who met in Alnwick on Thursday evening to discuss the way forward – have resisted moves for England duo Trippier and Wilson, while Paraguay international Almiron’s situation remains similarly unchanged.

Trippier’s future in particular has been under scrutiny with Bayern having tabled a a loan bid and two cash offers before apparently abandoning their interest after receiving no encouragement.

Howe said: “We’ve had a lot of conversations in the last week and it’s always been about Newcastle, and I think it was very important that I made that clear and got that out there to everybody, that his commitment to Newcastle shouldn’t be questioned.”

On Wilson, who was wanted on loan by Atletico Madrid and has since been linked with Chelsea and West Ham despite currently being out of action with a calf injury, he added: “When you look, we have two strikers and one of them is injured, so we have one fit striker. It doesn’t make sense.”

Howe, who confirmed Newcastle had ended their interest in a loan deal for Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips for “financial reasons”, also admitted the club is not close to making a signing this month and may ultimately do no business despite Joelinton’s unavailability.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is confident Kieran Trippier will stay with the club after they resisted Bayern Munich’s attempts to prise him away.

The 33-year-old England full-back was the subject of three separate offers from the Bundesliga champions earlier this week, all of which were rejected by the Magpies.

Howe, who has also seen strikers Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron linked with moves away from Tyneside before next Thursday’s transfer deadline, insisted Trippier – the first man signed by the club’s new owners following their takeover in October 2021 – never wanted to leave.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round trip to Fulham, he said: “We obviously hope he’ll stay – and I’m very confident he will – and be part of our long-term future, but I have to make it clear that he’s never asked to leave or even questioned his future here. He’s always been fully committed.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations in the last week and it’s always been about Newcastle, and I think it was very important that I made that clear and got that out there to everybody, that his commitment to Newcastle shouldn’t be questioned.”

Bayern said they had ended their pursuit on Wednesday evening after being given no encouragement, and asked if he considered the matter over, Howe added: “His situation is finished as far as everyone is concerned, Kieran, myself.

“I’ve just been in football long enough to never ever say 100 per cent because I don’t want to look stupid, but Kieran is 100 per cent committed and we definitely want to keep him.”

Wilson has been linked with a series of clubs this week after chief executive Darren Eales admitted the club would have to trade players in future windows in order to comply with spending restrictions.

But Howe said: “In every conversation that I’ve had with Callum – very similar to Kieran – he’s 100 per cent committed to Newcastle. No part of him is looking elsewhere.

“He wants to come back and score goals, he’s got big ambitions for the second half of the season and we want to keep him here.

“Obviously some things are out of my control and of course the club is acting within the long-term interests of the club and has to, and I understand that and am fully supportive of it, so let’s see what happens.”

What the papers say

Newcastle could look to sell striker Callum Wilson, who has scored seven goals for the Magpies in the Premier League this season, for just £18million before the January transfer window closes, the Standard reports. Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have been alerted to the potential sale of the 31-year-old.

The Mirror says United manager Erik ten Hag is interested in Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite and Ajax striker Brian Brobbey but is no longer in control of transfers.

Wolves have hit a hurdle in their pursuit of Chelsea striker Armando Broja as they try to come in line with Premier League spending rules, according to the Daily Mail.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Morgan Rogers: The Middlesbrough forward is ready to join Aston Villa despite his club rejecting two bids for the move, the Daily Mail reports.

Daniel Munoz: Crystal Palace are reportedly close to signing the 27-year-old Colombian right-back from Belgian team Genk, according to the South London Press.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich say they have ended their pursuit of Newcastle full-back Kieran Trippier.

Bayern saw a series of approaches, including an initial loan bid and a £13million cash offer for the 33-year-old England international, rebuffed by the Magpies, who insisted they were not prepared to let one of their key players leave this month.

However, Thomas Tuchel’s side have now admitted defeat in their attempts to lure him away from Tyneside.

Sporting director Christoph Freund told Sky Germany: “The Kieran Trippier issue is over. We only do what we are 100 per cent convinced of.”

Newcastle have also rejected a loan bid for striker Callum Wilson from Atletico Madrid, while Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab have expressed an interest in fellow front Miguel Almiron.

None of the three players are understood to be agitating for a move.

Potential buyers have set their sights on the Magpies since chief executive Darren Eales admitted that they may have to sell players to buy in order to comply with profit and sustainability and financial fair play rules after a embarking upon £400million spending spree since their Saudi-backed owners took over in October 2021.

Newcastle midfielder Joelinton will miss most of the rest of the season after undergoing thigh surgery, the club have confirmed.

The Brazilian was forced off during the Magpies’ FA Cup victory over rivals Sunderland on January 6.

Manager Eddie Howe had previously suggested the 27-year-old could be out for around six weeks but the decision to operate now means the player will be sidelined until at least May.

A statement from the club read: “Newcastle United can confirm that Joelinton has successfully undergone surgery on a thigh injury sustained earlier this month.

“The midfielder will now commence a period of rehabilitation overseen by the club’s medical team and is expected to return to action in May 2024.”

The news is a further blow for Howe, who currently has a lengthy injury list to contend with.

Jacob Murphy, Callum Wilson, Harvey Barnes, Joe Willock, Matt Targett and Nick Pope are among the players currently out of action.

Newcastle have turned down a 15million euros bid from Bayern Munich for full-back Kieran Trippier.

The England international was the subject of a rejected loan offer from the Bundesliga giants at the weekend, but have returned with a cash bid which amounts to around £13million for the 33-year-old.

However, the PA news agency understands the Magpies have no intention of selling Trippier, who joined the club in a £12million switch from Atletico Madrid in January 2022, during the current transfer window.

They have also rebuffed an approach from Atletico for striker Callum Wilson on loan and signalled that they want to keep him at St James’ Park for at least the remainder of the season as well.

Al-Shabab – not one of the four clubs in which Saudia Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which holds an 80 per cent stake in Newcastle, has a controlling interest – are also chasing Paraguay frontman Miguel Almiron, but are yet to reach a point where his current employers would even have cause to think about a deal.

The knowledge that the Tyneside club is close to its spending limit after a £400million-plus, two-year recruitment drive appears to have prompted suitors to test the water this month.

While chief executive Darren Eales has admitted that player trading is something the club will have to do in the longer term, there is no great willingness to start now with injuries continuing to deplete head coach Eddie Howe’s squad, and none of the players in question are agitating for a move.

Bayern, who have other targets, now face a decision over whether or not to consider their pursuit of Trippier before the February 1 deadline, knowing that they may have to go significantly higher than their valuation if they are to spark a rethink.

What the papers say

Manchester United are keen to offload embattled winger Jadon Sancho in a permanent deal, putting the England international – currently on loan at Borussia Dortmund – on offer to Saudi clubs for around £50million, the Evening Standard reports.

The club have also opened offers up for Brazil winger Antony, to Saudi sides for a similar price tag, writes the Standard, as United look to claw back some of the heavy investment they made in the two 23-year-olds.

West Ham are inching closer to striking a deal for Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips, however the Daily Mail reports that there may be some late interest from Juventus in the 28-year-old England international.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Kieran Trippier: Newcastle are demanding that Bayern Munich pay a fee of around £12million for the 33-year-old England full-back who is open to moving to the German giants, says Sky Sports.

Armando Broja: West Ham’s hopes of signing the Albania forward in the January transfer window look slim, as Football Insider reports that Chelsea want at least £50million for the 22-year-old.

Abdoulaye Doucoure: The Everton and Mali midfielder is understood to be a target for Saudi side Al-Ettifaq, writes the Guardian.

What the papers say

German side Bayern Munich plan to test Newcastle’s resolve by offering a higher bid for 33-year-old defender Kieran Trippier after an initial offer for the England international was rejected, the Guardian reports.

The Magpies have also rejected a loan offer from Atletico Madrid for striker Callum Wilson, according to the Daily Mail.

Brentford striker Ivan Toney wants to stay with the Bees, according to the Daily Mirror, despite being linked to both Arsenal and Chelsea.

Al-Nassr are believed to have made an offer totalling £21million for Tottenham defender Emerson Royal, the Daily Mail reports, but the Saudi Arabian side have been rebuffed.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Hugo Ekitike: German side Eintracht Frankfurt have reached a verbal agreement for the Paris St Germain forward and are gearing up for the next stage of negotiations, Sky Sports Germany says.

Ben Godfrey: The Everton defender is shaping up as an option for AC Milan, Calciomercato reports, however Sheffield United and Leeds are also understood to be interested in the 26-year-old.

Jonathan Varane: The 22-year-old Sporting Gijon midfielder has garnered significant interest from a number of clubs, including LaLiga sides Cadiz and Getafe and Championship outfits Norwich and QPR, writes L’Equipe.

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