Tue 7 May 2024, 17:30 · Ash Harrison

Report: Newcastle recently sent scouts to Croatia to run rule over players at both ends of the pitch

Report: Newcastle recently sent scouts to Croatia to run rule over players at both ends of the pitch
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Newcastle United and Manchester City both sent delegates to Croatia lately to look at a couple young prospects who went face-to-face.

The scouts were in attendance as NK Osijek sealed a 3-1 win over Lokomotiva Zagreb with a player from each side catching the eye of the Premier League representatives according to a report from Inter Milan-focused outlet L'Interista (via Sport Witness), who are also keeping tabs on the same duo.

The report hailed 18-year-old Osijek forward Anton Matković as the 'absolute protagonist' of the game scoring a brace on the day while 21-year-old Zagreb 'keeper Nikola Čavlina, despite conceding three goals, came out looking good with the report claiming he prevented the scoreline from becoming 'embarrassing'.

It looks like we're now set up for a three-way tussle between the two Premier League sides and the Italian giants for the youngsters.


Newcastle need more attacking options but it may be too soon for Matković

Anton Matković who can play as centre-forward or left-wing has scored four goals this season in 18 appearances across the senior and U18's side for Osijek from just 823 minutes of game time.

It would obviously be a while before he was Premier League-ready, but Newcastle and City are both looking for young talent to train up into future stars, however, given Newcastle's lack of options up front, Matković, if not loaned out, could find himself as a backup off the bench in a few games next season.

What's more likely to happen, though, is that Newcastle bring in first-team-ready forwards as well as Matković, who would be sent out on loan to develop like we did with Yankuba Minteh.


Newcastle are set for a big goalkeeping shake-up this summer

Nikola Čavlina, however, could ultimately find himself replacing Loris Karius were he to join Newcastle. The German stopper is moving on at the end of this season leaving Newacstle one goalkeeper down, and it's also expected that Martin Dubravka may leave also.

Čavlina is unlikely to be given the responsibility of back-up keeper, with Newcastle looking at a move for Arsenal stopper Aaron Ramsdale who would battle with Nick Pope for first-choice, but having a young talented 'keeper as third-choice may be the way forward. Of course, there's always Mark Gillespie.

It now remains to be seen which, if any, the duo choose should Newcastle, City and Inter actually make their moves this summer, and of course what the damage would be financially. It's not likely to be a lot, but it all adds up.

Man City may feel they have a slight advantage with Matković given that he has the same agent as their defender, Josko Gvardiol, but that doesn't make it a formality.