By Will Butcher
Brentford playmaker Alan Judge is expected to become Rafa Benitez’ ninth Newcastle signing of the summer.
Former Real Madrid manager Benitez has identified Judge’s Championship experience as pivotal to the Magpies’ chances of an instant return to the top-flight.
The Evening Chronicle’s chief football writer Lee Ryder revealed via his Twitter account that the 27-year-old was on his way to St. James’ Park for talks and a potential medical.
Judge has less than 12 months remaining on his contract at Griffin Park and could be signed by the Magpies in a cut-price deal.
Brentford’s number 18 came to prominence in England’s third tier, developing a reputation for being a goalscoring number 10 with League One outfit Notts County – he scored 16 goals in his last two seasons before moving to Blackburn Rovers.
However, a disappointing spell at Ewood Park saw him move to Brentford. Last term, the 5ft 6in attacking midfielder scored an impressive 14 goals in 38 league games, with 12 assists.
Judge has not played since fracturing his lower leg against Ipswich in April last season, but the Magpies seem confident that a deal can be struck.
Benitez has become increasingly busy in the transfer market this summer, after already putting pen to paper on eight deals.
Premier League trio Mohamed Diame, Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle have signed, while defenders Ciaran Clark, Jesus Gamez and Grant Hanley have also moved to the Toon.
Arsenal’s Isaac Hayden and goalkeeper Matz Sels have also become part of Benitez’ revamp, and Judge is expected to be the latest addition with eight days remaining before the transfer deadline.
In other Newcastle transfer news, these two French flops are edging closer to ending their Tyneside nightmare.