By Harry Sykes

Newcastle are close to adding Palermo left-back Achraf Lazaar to the Saturday signing of striker Daryl Murphy, according to a report.

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy revealed on Saturday evening that Murphy handed in a transfer request earlier in the day and will complete a switch to the Championship big hitters.

Sky Sport claimed on their website that Lazaar underwent a Newcastle medical on Saturday afternoon.

The two clubs have agreed a transfer fee for the 24-year-old Morocco international to move to St James’ Park on a permanent deal.

Lazaar will now put pen to paper on a contract with the Magpies if he agrees personal terms and passes the medical.

The left-back has also been linked with West Ham United this summer but Newcastle are set to finalise a deal to bring him to St James’ Park over the weekend.

The 24-year-old was in the stand to watch the Championship match between Newcastle and Brighton on Saturday, which was won 2-0 by his new club.

The 14-time capped international was integral to Palermo’s Serie A campaign last season, making 30 domestic appearances for Davide Ballardini’s side.

The left-back position has proven to be a problem for the north east club with Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark and Jesus Gamez all occupying the role in the early stages of the new campaign.

Benitez has already outspent his Championship rivals in this summer with some big signings, notably Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie, who joined for a combined £24million.

In other Newcastle transfer news, their central midfielder is in talks over a move.