Manchester United and Newcastle United had seemingly set up a two-way battle for Feyenoord defender Tyrell Malacia before a £12million bid dropped
Lyon hope they have beaten the Premier League duo to the punch by lodging a £12million bid for the 22-year-old left-back – and are now waiting for an answer from the Rotterdam club. Feyenoord are braced for Malacia’s departure this summer.
But they expected a bidding war to break out between Old Trafford and St James’ Park after United and Newcastle both asked for their valuation of Malacia. Feyenoord told them that an offer in excess of £15million would be acceptable – and that the final decision would then be left to Malacia.
But so far there has been informal talks but no concrete offers from England. And now Lyon have stolen a march by putting their cash on the table. Malacia was on the wish-list Erik ten Hag handed to United when he agreed to leave Ajax to become their new boss.
Ten Hag wants top-class competition for Luke Shaw – but the belief in Holland is that United are so concentrated on making Frenkie de Jong the first marquee signing of the Dutchman’s reign that Lyon have sensed an opening. The French club are also managed by a former Ajax coach in Peter Bosz – and he is a big fan of the aggressive 5ft 7ins Holland international.
But Lyon’s failure to meet the asking price means Feyenoord are open to a counter-bid. Newcastle are also looking for summer reinforcements after Eddie Howe met the club’s new Saudi owners’ first brief by keeping Toon in the top-flight last season.
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The Magpies have already spent £12million to make Matt Targett’s move to Tyneside permanent after the left-back impressed during his loan spell. But Howe wants to bring a more competitive edge to his squad next season.
Malacia has been described as a “pit-bull” in Holland but has an unassuming personality off the pitch. He comes from the same Rotterdam streets that produced Gini Wijnaldum, the Paris St Germain midfielder who was a big success with both Newcastle and Liverpool.
Malacia is expected to be part of Louis van Gaal’s squad for the World Cup in the winter. He made his international debut in a qualifier against Montenegro last September and has now collected five caps for his country.