French newspaper L’Equipe reported via their print edition [Wednesday August 7, page 9] that Newcastle had been in the hunt to sign the 23-year-old while Premier League rivals West Ham and Everton had also been hot on his heels.
However it is understood that Spanish side Sevilla are now leading the race to sign the Portugal international in a deal worth £23million and negotiations between them and Monaco are going well.
As a result of Sevilla’s move for Lopes, it would seem as though Newcastle are going to miss out on their reported target.
It is a big blow because Lopes is just the kind of player that Steve Bruce needed to sign to round off what would have been an impressive attack of him, Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin.
Lopes is a left-sided winger who made 29 appearances in all competitions for Monaco last season, scoring four goals and supplying two assists in the process.
It was not his best season with the Ligue 1 side but in the 2017/18 campaign, the Brazil-born forward did manage to score 17 goals and supply 12 assists in 50 total outings.
Even the best players in the world have seasons where they are not quite at it – look at Eden Hazard’s 2015/16 campaign as an example – so Lopes’ drop in goals and assists last time out could have just been a blip in what has been a steady career to date.
Lopes may not have been directly involved in as many goals last term for Monaco but his stats still paint a pretty picture.
According to stats by WhoScored, the Portuguese ace averaged 2.1 shots at goal, 2.0 key passes and 1.2 successful dribbles per league match.
Out of the players at Newcastle last term, only Salomon Rondon [2.8] averaged more shots at goal while no one managed to average more key passes and successful dribbles in the Premier League than what Lopes managed in Ligue 1.
It’s telling that Lopes would have been a top signing for the Magpies.
Unfortunately, this latest development from L’Equipe means any hopes of him heading to Tyneside before the end of play on Thursday have been all but dashed.