Dan Ashworth set to work his magic once again as Toon turn to two hidden gems?

“We can’t continue to spend £200million in one year. We have to find ways of getting talent through the building and investing in potential, nor performance. That’s a key difference.

Speaking about our recruitment plans last month, this was one of Dan Ashworth’s key messages, seeing our sporting director talk up the need to invest in potential – not proven stars who are likely to cost big bucks and set us back from a FFP perspective.

This was something Ashworth did brilliantly at Brighton. In February 2021, he helped facilitate Moises Caicedo’s £4.5m move from Independiente to The Amex.

18 months on, the Ecuador international has successfully replaced Yves Bissouma after several outstanding displays in the Premier League and is now valued at £45m by Transfermarkt. That’s 10 times what they paid for the 21-year-old.

Ashworth recently states that he “gets more pleasure out of Elliot Anderson coming in and making his debut than signing a ready-made 29-year-old”, which brings me on nicely to two young gems who’ve been heavily linked with Newcastle United in recent weeks – Andrey Santos and Máximo Perrone.

Santos is only 18, yet has racked up eight goals in 36 appearances for Vasco da Gama, also representing – and captaining – Brazil at every youth level from U16 to U210.

As for Perrone, reports in Argentina claim we have held talks with Velez Sarsfield and watched the 19-year-old on several occasions, with some even claiming that a formal bid is imminent.

It’s been well documented that we’re in the market for a new holding midfielder, with Toon scouts tapping into the South American market in search of world-class talent.

Mix that with Ashworth’s desire to sign highly-rated gems before they become household names across Europe and it seems like these are two serious ones to watch heading into 2023.

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