By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Newcastle are keen on making Bournemouth outcast Lee Tomlin their first summer signing, according to a report.
The Cherries attacking midfielder has been on loan at Bristol City since January and has caught the eye of Magpies manager Rafael Benitez after scoring six goals in 18 appearances.
The Sun claim Newcastle are keeping close tabs on the midfielder, who is rated in the £3million bracket by Bournemouth.
The Premier League club paid Middlesbrough £3.5million to sign Tomlin last summer, but the 27-year-old only managed to make 10 appearances for the club as he failed to establish himself as a first-team regular.
It is said Bournemouth are willing to listen to offers for Tomlin, whose £30,000-a-week wages should be affordable for a club of Newcastle’s resources.
Former Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid manager Benitez is reportedly close to agreeing a Tyneside stay and is already busy plotting a number of transfers as he eyes an immediate return to the Premier League for the north-east giants.
However, the Spaniard faces stiff competition from Fulham for the signing of Tomlin after their transfer ban was lifted by the Football League.
The 27-year-old, who plays predominantly on the right flank, has a prolific record in the lower divisions after making his name as an outstanding creator and scorer for Peterborough.
In other Newcastle news, the club are close to clinching a £5million-a-year deal.