Newcastle United have been scouting Atalanta's Duvan Zapata throughout the season, as they eye a potential summer move for the star striker.
The Magpies have been on scouting missions in Italy over the course of the season, and have identified the 27-year-old as a potential target in the summer transfer window. The Serie A forward is currently in excellent form, and has attracted interest from across the continent.
According to a report from Chronicle Live, Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez is keen to find experienced players for his squad, with the Colombian having previously played for him during his time at Napoli.
Zapata is on loan at Atalanta from fellow Serie A club Sampdoria, and ever since he joined at the start of the season he has been in outstanding form. He has scored 22 goals in 37 appearances across all competitions, and is Atalanta's outright top scorer this season.
Zapata is also one of the most in-form players in the league, with his 17 league goals making him the fourth top scorer. The South American striker sits behind some of Serie A’s biggest names - Cristiano Ronaldo, Fabio Quagliarella and Krzysztof Piatek.
Atalanta are desperate to sign the Colombian permanently, as the deal with Sampdoria contains an option to buy. However, they could be preparing to sell him straight away, in a bid to make a healthy profit from their star striker.
While the Italians are eager to make Zapata’s loan deal permanent, the 27-year-old’s superb form has attracted interest from the likes of Roma and Inter, with West Ham also keen to bring him to the Premier League.
Atalanta are flying high in the Italian top tier this season, as they sit just outside the European spots in seventh. They are level on goal difference with sixth-placed Lazio, as they sit in the same position as last season and just six points off the Champions League places.
Zapata could be worth up to £38m, which would result in Newcastle having to break their transfer record fee. The Magpies only broke the record this January, signing Atlanta United striker Miguel Almiron for £21m on deadline day.
Newcastle are back in action for the first time in over two weeks, when they travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal on 1 April. They return to St James’ Park next weekend, when they will host Crystal Palace.