This is why Boubakary Soumare rejected £35m Newcastle United move
Steve Bruce has revealed how close Newcastle United came to signing Boubakary Soumare.
The club had a £35million bid for a midfielder accepted this month – but the player rejected the move, according to Bruce.
Bruce refused to name the player, though he is understood to be Lille’s Boubakary Soumare.
“It would be unfair on the player if I said who he was,” said Bruce. “(He was from) abroad, yes. But I don't want anyone to be cynical about this bid. We were booked to go on a plane. That is exactly what happened. We thought we were really, really close, but unfortunately the boy decided to stay where he was.
“I think with him it was just to keep his options open. He's only young, and there's a lot of top clubs who have been linked with him. You've got to respect the decision. At the death, it was, 'we want to keep our options open until the summer'. He changed his mind – otherwise I wouldn't have gone on a goose chase. Certainly, I wouldn't be getting on the plane.
“We had a plane booked to go and meet him, but the boy changed his mind. We thought last weekend we had a chance to bring him in.
“We were more concerned whether or not we could get past the club, but we had the bid accepted.”
Asked if the club changed its approach to the window after the get-together, Bruce said: “We just carried on what we were trying to do – that didn’t change at all.
“What happened last weekend was we had a bid accepted for a player which would have been great for us. A highly-respected player, good footballer. It’s a shame it didn’t happen.
“As I said the conversation we had was ‘who was our No.1 target?’. This particular player was the No.1 target for everyone.
“With the people who have been linked with him, it will be interesting to see if he will move today, but I don't think he will. The meeting was productive.”