Newcastle United are currently losing the race to sign Villarreal striker Nicolas Jackson.

That is according to transfer insider Dean Jones who believes that Aston Villa boss Unai Emery’s links to the star mean that the Midlands-based side hold the advantage.

To add to matters, Jones does not believe that Newcastle will increase their efforts in the race to sign Jackson, meaning that Emery will be presented with a clear run to sign the star.

Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, Jones said: “I’m not convinced that this is one that Newcastle are actively pursuing right now. 

“In that sense, you’d probably edge that if he was to go anywhere, it would be Villa and Emery.”

A winter disaster

Senegal striker Jackson broke into the Villarreal side under Emery last October and hasn’t looked back since.

Four attacking returns in the form of two goals and two assists in 13 La Liga appearances do not paint the forward in the best light and he is yet to prove himself as an out-and-out goalscorer.

But, it is worth noting that The Yellow Submarine have struggled to score this season, with their top scorer Alex Baena sat with just two goals more than Jackson, who is level with the well-known Gerard Moreno.

Aged just 21, his efforts can go unnoticed when strictly looking at direct attacking contributions, but it’s worth saying that his underlying stats point to a promising and surprisingly creative front-man.

With four big chances created, Jackson finds himself as the second-greatest creative threat in the side this season and tops the squad for his combined return of four contributions.

It is no wonder as to why he has been called up to the Senegal squad for the World Cup.

He may just be a secret weapon for the side, and following a breakout tournament, his stock will certainly increase to an all-time high.

Whilst the Magpies are holding their cards close to their chest, they will surely be monitoring the £27million asset throughout this tournament.