European football’s top marksman Ciro Immobile has confirmed that he was approached over a transfer to Newcastle United while the potential Saudi takeover of the club was ongoing.
In a sign of the lofty ambitions that the prospective new owners had for the Magpies, the Lazio forward says he was told of the new owners’ plan to buy him and install a top Italian manager to replace Steve Bruce this summer.
Immobile scored 36 league goals in the 2019/20 season to win the Serie A Golden Boot and claim the European Golden Shoe award for the top scorer across the continent, and the 30-year-old says contact was made with his agent over a move to Tyneside.
“During the period in which there was talk of the possible purchase of Newcastle by the Sheikh’s fund they called my agent, Alessandro Moggi,” Immobile told Italian publication Corriere Dello Sport.
“Then the Premier League did not approve that proposal, or the fund withdrew, I don’t remember well.
“I know they were also looking for an Italian coach, [Massimiliano] Allegri or [Luciano] Spalletti.”
The proposed takeover was shelved last month, with many fans left angry at the Premier League for blocking what had become a highly controversial move.
Immobile’s goals helped Lazio to a top four finish this season, and he now says he plans to see out the rest of his career in Rome.
“I intend to tie myself to Lazio forever. The renewal will be for three years, so the contract will expire in 2025 when I turn 35,” he said.
“Before I arrived at Lazio, contacts with Napoli were frequent, but for one reason or another, we never went any further.
“Naples is the city where I was born, I always follow Napoli with affection, but what Lazio has given me and is giving me is priceless.”