Newcastle are plotting a January loan move for former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to reports.
The Gabon international has not played for the Gunners for more than a month after a breach of discipline.
Aubameyang was punished for returning back late from an authorised trip to France to see his mother.
He was stripped of the armband by Mikel Arteta, whose side have thrived in the striker’s absence.
Aubameyang has now departed for the Africa Cup of Nations and the 32-year-old may have played his last game for the club.
Arsenal would no doubt be open to selling him this month, although that is made complicated by his participation in the tournament in Cameroon.
Aubameyang’s mammoth £350,000-a-week wages are also an issue, as there are not many clubs in the world who would be willing to pay that much to a player who turns 33 in June.
The Magpies want to borrow Aubameyang until the end of the season with an option to sign him permanently in the summer.
They are willing to pay £20m for the ex-Borussia Dortmund man at the end of the campaign, although much will depend on whether they are still a Premier League club at that point.
Indeed, Aubameyang might not even be interested in a loan move to a side battling against the drop.
Eddie Howe’s team are second-bottom of the table and have only won one match all season.
There has been talk of Aubameyang favouring a return to France, where he spent two years playing for Saint-Etienne after loan spells at Dijon, Lille and Monaco.
But since not many Ligue 1 outfits could afford his salary, the forward may consider a spell at another Premier League club.
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Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).
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