By Harry Sykes

Newcastle are eyeing a January swoop for Genk’s £8million-rated defender Wilfred Ndidi, according to a report.

The Chronicle claim Rafael Benitez’s team have closely watched the Nigeria international deliver a string of composed displays for the Jupiler League club in Belgium.

It is said that Tottenham and Watford were looking at signing Ndidid in the summer and that he turned down a £5million approach from Hamburg.

The Chronicle, citing sources in Belgium, report that there is a strong indication that Genk may sell one of their prize assets in January.

Newcastle would have to go considerably above the £5million that the Belgium club rejected from Hamburg, but there will be money to spend in January as Benitez prepares to off-load midfielder outcast Cheick Tiote.

Newcastle watched Genk’s Europa League game against Sassuolo last month are were impressed by Ndidi, who is primarily a central defender but can play in midfield and at full-back.

Ndidi is strong, quick and skilful. He was named one of the best young players in Belgium last season, has already played twice for Nigeria and will qualify for a Belgian passport soon.

Newcastle’s approach in the next transfer window is to buy players who can operate in the Championship but also excel in the Premier League if United go up.

He also fits the bill of being a player who could improve under Rafa Benitez, who has asked his scouts to continue looking in Europe for prospects.

Newcastle have money to spend in January and despite boasting a squad that has two players for every position, they will look to recruit if the player is right.

In other Newcastle transfer news, the agent of a £14million Newcastle attacker has claimed his client could quit the club next year amid January interest.