Brighton and Hove Albion winger Solly March came close to joining Newcastle United, it has been revealed.
The 22-year has been an influential figure for the club's promotion rivals since returning from long-term injury.
March joined Brighton from non-league club Lewes in 2011.
However, Newcastle, then managed by Alan Pardew, were also interested in signing March, who had a trial on Tyneside.
Robert Codner, March's agent, told The Argus: “Solly was going to sign for Newcastle.
"He went up there. He had a tragedy, something happened to his best friend
“He took it quite badly, so Newcastle sent him back. That was the window for Brighton to become involved. Millwall were involved as well. Brighton jumped in and got the deal done.”
March returned from a knee ligament damage late last year.
And the 22-year-old has enjoyed a run in Chris Hughton's side this year.
Championship leaders United take on second-placed Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday night.
Rafa Benitez's side lead the division by a point following Monday night's 2-0 win over Aston Villa.
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