Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia ready to go toe-to-toe in Newcastle transfer tussle

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Chelsea transfer chief Marina Granovskaia is set to go head-to-head with Premier League rivals Newcastle in the race for Porto star Luis Diaz in the New Year. Newcastle are expected to be busy in January following their £305million takeover earlier this month.

With their new Saudi-backed owners, the Magpies are now the wealthiest club in the world – and are expected to spend big in the January transfer window to turn their season around.

Newcastle, who are still on the hunt for a new boss after axing Steve Bruce last week, remain entrenched in the relegation zone and without a league win all season.

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Former Roma chief Paulo Fonseca is the favourite to take the Toon role after talks this week but an appointment has yet to be made.

With Newcastle desperate for more firepower, recent reports have linked the St James Park outfit with a move for Porto’s Colombian ace Diaz.

The 24-year-old’s £64million release clause wasn’t anticipated to be a problem for the mega-rich Magpies, but news of Chelsea’s interest in the striker could prove to be a major issue.

The Blues have forged a fearsome reputation in the transfer market due to Granovskaia, who is widely acknowledged as one of the most efficient and ruthless negotiators around.

Despite forking out a club-record £97.5m on Romelu Lukaku to spearhead their attack this summer, Chelsea are seemingly still keen on bolstering their attacking ranks.

Diaz is capable of operating on the left as well as through the middle, which could explain Chelsea’s interest in the Colombia international.

And that interest could prove fatal for Newcastle’s hopes of luring the forward to Tyneside to join their ambitious project, with the Blues currently coasting at the top of the league under Thomas Tuchel.

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Spanish giants Real Madrid and reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, who both have considerable pulling power as two of the biggest clubs in Europe, have also been credited with an interest in Diaz, who has netted seven goals in just 11 games for the Portuguese side this season.

He also struck four times in this year’s Copa America, narrowly missing out on the top scorer prize to Paris Saint-Germain star Lionel Messi, who found the net five times.

If Newcastle can persuade Diaz to become the first superstar to take the plunge on their Tyneside project, then they’d have to smash their transfer record, which currently stands at the £40m they paid for Brazilian flop Joelinton.

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