By Harvey Byrne
Newcastle have made an enquiry for £15million-rated Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala, according to a report.
The Daily Mail claim the Magpies have targeted the Spanish centre back, but a large fee may be needed for their north-east rivals to to allow him to leave.
It is said Boro have been approached by Newcastle for the classy 25-year-old, who was named in the Football League Team of the Season.
Rafael Benitez was promised a large transfer budget when going into the summer after suffering relegation to the Championship.
The Spanird will be looking to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, and he has pinpointed former Liverpool man Ayala as a key target.
The Spaniard was an integral part of Middlesbrough’s defence as they won promotion to the Premier League in the recently completed domestic season.
Ayala was signed by Benitez at Liverpool in 2007 and the ex-Real Madrid boss is reported keen to work with him again.
Since Newcastle’s links to Ayala, Middlesbrough have slapped a huge asking price on the head of their Spanish defender.
The report claims that Boro want a £15million fee for Ayala, which may deter Newcastle from making an offer.
However if Ayala wants to work for his former manager again, then he might decide to push strongly for a move.
In other Newcastle United news, a 26-year-old has told the club he wants to quit and reveals where he could be heading.