Newcastle United will end their interest in Anthony Gordon, leaving the winger trapped at Everton, if their Premier League rivals do not lower their £60m price tag.
Newcastle are confident they have beaten Chelsea in the race to sign the 21-year-old and a deal is believed to be close.
But with time running out in this transfer window, and with Morocco international Hakim Ziyech an appealing alternative, Newcastle are not going to overpay for the striker.
As revealed by Telegraph Sports last week they continue to monitor events at Stamford Bridge closely as they suspect Ziyech may not be the only player allowed to leave before next week’s deadline.
Gordon is desperate to move to Tyneside and personal matters will not be an issue, but Everton have put an inflated price on the player’s head in the hope of extracting as much money as possible from Newcastle.
This fee appears to be based on the £60m Chelsea were willing to pay for the academy graduate last summer, but Telegraph Sports understands that Newcastle representatives have made it clear to Everton that they will not pay that amount. The ball is now in the Merseyside club’s court.
At this stage of negotiations, there is always an element of brinkmanship in negotiations and those close to the deal still feel it will happen, but Newcastle need to have a back-up plan.
It appears to be Ziyech. The winger has had a mixed spell at Stamford Bridge but will be pushed out of manager Graham Potter’s first-team plans by new arrivals.
Telegraph Sports understands Gordon talks remain alive after he was identified by Newcastle’s transfer committee as a priority signing because he has the ingredients to be a top Premier League player for the next 10 years.
Newcastle are keen to lower the average age of their squad and the 21-year-old’s arrival would help them do so. It is also believed that Gordon would benefit greatly from Eddie Howe’s management and coaching methods.
Meanwhile, senior sources at the club have again vehemently denied Newcastle are open to selling Allan Saint-Maximin in this transfer window and have not offered the 25-year-old to any rival clubs in talks this month.
Newcastle suspect someone is trying to upset the Frenchman, who is playing himself back into form after another impressive performance in the 1-0 League Cup win over Southampton on Tuesday night.