OGC Nice preferred choice for Mario Lemina

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Newcastle United have missed out on another transfer target with OGC Nice securing Mario Lemina. Southampton’s Lemina is set to move to Nice after the two clubs agreed a fee of €5,500,000 including bonuses.

Between Newcastle and OGC Nice, Lemina has opted for the Ligue 1 side. The Gabon international is on the verge of agreeing a deal with the French club.

Newcastle had recently resurrected talks to sign the 27-year-old. However, Nice handed in an offer of their own and it proved successful.

The Magpies Situation

In June, Newcastle were in talks to sign Mario Lemina from Southampton. The two clubs then agreed that the midfielder would complete a move to St. James’ Park for a €5,000,000 (approximate) transfer fee.

Nevertheless, Mike Ashley halted the deal. The NUFC owner put forward another age-related policy. He was not willing to pay a transfer fee for a player over 27. Lemina, now 27, will turn 28 in September.

Ashley was pushing for a swap deal involving Newcastle players for the midfielder. Expectedly, Southampton were uninterested.

Five weeks later, Mike Ashley has rekindled interest but it could be too little too late.

Surplus at Saint Mary’s

Mario Lemina joined Southampton for a club-record €18,000,000 fee in August 2017. He started 38 Premier League games over the course of his first two years at the south coast club but never really became a first-team choice for them.

The Gabonaise spent 2019/20 on loan at Galatasaray (19 league starts). He then went on another loan during the 2020/21 season to Fulham, making 19 starts. The Cottagers were relegated though. Had Fulham remained in the top flight, a clause would be triggered to keep him at Craven Cottage.

Southampton had hoped to sell the former Juventus player for £8,000,000 this summer.

It was expected that Lemina would leave this summer. Despite impressing Hasenhuttl in preseason training, he has fallen down the pecking order. He has less than a year remaining on his current deal with the Saints.

Lemina and his representatives have reportedly flown to the South of France to finalize a three year deal.

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