By Tom Blackburn

Rafa Benitez is ever hopeful that Moussa Sissoko and Georginio Wijnaldum will remain at Newcastle despite being heavily linked with moves.

Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund are all said to be interested in Sissoko, while Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton are looking at Wijnaldum.

In an interview with the Newcastle Chronicle, Benitez said Sissoko and Wijnaldum could yet start the season at Newcastle United.

“Our idea is to keep these players, if it’s possible,” Benitez said.

“But we know how football is now and the market and agents.

“Gini has trained really well, and I’m very happy with him.

“And Moussa, I rate him very highly. He was very good for us at the end of the season and in the Euros.

“We know what is going on. A lot of people will be asking for them, but, at the moment, we will see if they can stay and improve the team.

“If not, we will find the best solution for the team.”

Sissoko was a mainstay of the team last season and was named captain by Rafael Benitez for the final matches of the campaign, before going on to have a superb Euro 2016.

However, he scored just one goal from 39 appearances and 3,402 minutes of action, a poor return for a player with 35 caps for France and one who plays so high up the pitch.

Newcastle are asking a bumper £35million for the Frenchman after his impressive performance in the Euro 2016 final.

Wijnaldum joined Newcastle last summer from PSV Eindhoven for a fee of £14.5million but he has made it clear he wants to leave following relegation to the Championship.

The 25-year-old was a shining light in a wretched Premier League campaign for the North-East club, scoring 11 goals in the competition.

In other Newcastle transfer news, European giants have lined up a move that would break the Newcastle transfer record.