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Newcastle to battle Manchester United for RB Leipzig forward?

Battle of Uniteds?

RB Leipzig v Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Bundesliga Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

With just a week left in the January transfer market, it looks like the two Uniteds—Newcastle and Manchester—might be about to enter a war of bids for a talented forward.

According to Jacque Talbot of FootballTransfers and Dominic Scurr of The Shields Gazette, the Magpies are interested in completing the transfer of 20-year-old RB Leipzig forward Benjamin Sesko before January is over.

The Slovenia international, known for his scoring prowess and smooth skill set even having a rather big frame, has reportedly become the no. 1 target for the Magpies for the winter transfer window as he can play both in the forward line and drop down to midfield positions.

Sesko has scored seven goals in 24 appearances this season after completing his move from fellow Red Bull club RB Salzburg to Leizpiz 18 months ago for a £20 million transfer fee.

The player’s agent revealed recently that Sesko’s contract contains a £42 million release clause, which should make things easier—not cheaper—for clubs wanting to snatch him from Germany now or next summer.

Newcastle’s interest in Sesko is not coming out of the blue, mind you. The club was initially linked to the Slovenian forward back in 2022 when they approached him that summer prior to his move to Leipzig.

Currently, Newcastle’s attacking options are limited to Wilson and Alexander Isak, following the departure of Chris Wood to Nottingham Forest last January. It’s also been reported that Wilson might leave NUFC as soon as this month on either a full transfer or on loan, depending on the offers received by Newcastle and the interest in the players from clubs across Europe.

On the other side of this saga is Manchester United. Currently, under heavy pressure to start getting positive results, manager Erik ten Hag is desperate for reinforcements that help him improve the outcomes of Man Utd’s games for the second half of the season.

For Newcastle, acquiring a young, talented player like Sesko aligns with their strategy to build a young squad with upside over the long run, but for Man Utd, the transfer might not make that much sense considering the club is a goddam mess without direction, let alone the fact that Ten Hag can get sacked by season’s end.

Whether it’s now (most probably on a loan with a future must-buy clause attached to it) or next summer, Sesko could (and probably should) become the face of the New Magpies ahead of the 2024-25 season with at least two of Bruno, Isak, and Botman expected to leave the club then.