Outside of the top four last season, Espanyol conceded the fewest amount of goals of any side in La Liga. Even Real Madrid with 44 conceded two more than Espanyol. David Lopez was an important figure in this water-tight defense. Having played in all but one of the 38 La Liga games, the Spanish centre back is a wanted man around Europe this summer. The likes of Valencia and Tottenham Hotspur have been mooted with interest. It is Newcastle United that appear to be the forerunners however.
With David Lopez capable of also playing as a defensive midfielder as well as centre back, he can add flexibility to a Newcastle side that lacks strength in depth. With rumours circulating that Mikel Merino could be on his way back to Spain with both Real Betis and Athletic Club interested, Lopez may be a necessary addition.
Rafael Benitez is known to have a preference for buying Spanish-based players during his time managing the likes of Liverpool, Napoli and Newcastle. Having already brought in Florian Lejeune and Javier Manquillo last season, he looks intent on continuing this trend by taking Lopez to the northeast of England.
The biggest stumbling block for Newcastle to overcome is that Espanyol are believed to be unwilling to sell. Òscar Perarnau, Espanyol’s general manager has claimed the Spanish club have already rejected several offers for the centre back. As reported by AS, Perarnau stated: “David López has received proposals but we have rejected them.”
Having arrived from Napoli in the summer of 2016 for €4 million, Espanyol are unwilling to want to see him leave without a significant return for their money. His buy out clause is believed to be in the region of €40 million. Considering Newcastle’s current situation with Mike Ashley, it’s seems highly unlikely they will be splurging so much on one player.
Rafael Benitez was the manager of Napoli when David Lopez moved to the Italian side and played under the Newcastle manager 44 times during their two years together. It is possible that Lopez may want to play under his fellow native once again. For this to happen, a sizable offer would be required. Espanyol see the 28 year old as a key player and with both Aaron Martin and Gerard Moreno seemingly on their way out of the club, they will not want to lose another key player.