How Newcastle’s 1997 UEFA Cup foes could help bid for £16m Lyon star

Alexandre Lacazette

Back in the French top-flight following an eight-year absence, FC Metz have a history with Newcastle United and could play a role in their future.

Newcastle United’s hopes of landing Alexandre Lacazette in the coming days could receive a significant boost from a team familiar to Magpies fans with fond memories of the Magppies' European endeavours in the 1990s.

The 23-year-old scored 22 goals in all competitions for Lyon last term and has reportedly been identified as a key transfer target by Newcastle, having been valued at £16 million by his French employers.

With Loic Remy already rejecting an improved offer from Alan Pardew's club, the Magpies look likely to intensify their pursuit of a player regarded as one for the future.

And in a unique twist, another French team from the Toon’s past could play a role in helping convince the forward to move to St James’ Park.

Lacazette has previously spoken of his desire to remain at Lyon for the coming season, but with the Ligue 1 side crashing out to minnows Astra in the qualifying round of the Europa League, a change of heart could be on the cards.

Lyon had started the season with ambitions of breaking back into the Champions League qualification places but despite winning on the opening day, Hubert Fournier’s side have struggled since.

Back-to-back defeats to Toulouse and Lens have set the alarm bells ringing and it could get a whole lot worse for them and a whole lot better for Newcastle at the Stade Saint-Symphorien, when Lyon face FC Metz on Sunday.

The ground may be a familiar one to Newcastle fans who followed the Toon during their 1997 UEFA Cup campaign.

Back then they met a Metz side featuring a young Robert Pires in the last-16, with Peter Beardsley netting a valuable away goal from the spot in a 1-1 first-leg draw in France.

The tie was ultimately settled by two late goals from Faustino Asprilla, a couple of weeks later, in a memorable European night at St James’ Park.

Another memorable European encounter could be on the cards this Sunday with a home win for Metz likely to increase the sense of gloom around Lyon.

All of a sudden, a move to Newcastle – a team with real European aspirations – could look tempting to Lacazette, as he looks to force his way into France's national team ahead of .Euro 2016.

Relive Newcastle’s 2-0 win over Metz below

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