Newcastle United have entered the hunt for Le Mans midfielder Stephane Diarra, according to L’Equipe.
The French outlet claim on their website that the Magpies have been joined by Premier League rivals Leicester City in monitoring the 20-year-old this season.
L’Equipe report that Scottish giants Celtic have also been scouting Diarra for a number of seasons, and will challenge the English duo for the French-Ivorian midfielder.
Diarra has been ever-present for Le Mans in all competitions this season, making 13 appearances in Ligue 2 – three of those from the bench, and a further three outings in the Coupe de la Ligue.
It has been made no secret that Newcastle would like to add a midfielder to their ranks in the January window this season. The Magpies have been solid in defence, so there is no need to strengthen there. Looking outside of that, their attacking three have only scored once, and their midfield could do with some more legs. Diarra is a powerful youngster who is capable of breaking into the final third and chipping in with goals, which is exactly what Newcastle need with the 20-year-old scoring three goals in all competitions already. The young midfielder can also play on either wing and has already featured 49 times for Le Mans which could act as valuable experience should he need to make the step up to the Premier League. Newcastle will need to beat Leicester to his signature, and given that they are second in the league currently, that could be tough. Steve Bruce could be able to offer Diarra much more playing time at St James’ park than he would get under Brendan Rodgers, and he must use that to his advantage.