By Russell Edge

8th Dec, 2017 | 10:31am

'Massive accolade' - Midfield maestro delighted with Newcastle link, future move discussed

Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney has said how delighted he is to have been linked with a move to Newcastle United but insists his focus is solely on a future with his current club.

The Magpies were heavily linked with a move for the midfield maestro over summer, and it was claimed by the Northern Echo last month that manager Rafael Benitez had identified the 26-year-old as his top target for the upcoming winter transfer window.

It was claimed that the north east side had seen a £20million bid rejected by the Cottagers, with Benitez looking to increase the quality of his options in the centre of the park.

Speaking about a potential move, Cairney acknowledged Benitez’s interest, stating that he takes it as a huge compliment that a manager of the Spaniard’s status was interested in securing his services.

However the Scottish international, who is also Fulham’s captain, seemed to put the buffers on a transfer over January, insisting that pushing his current side forward to success has to be his priority.

He told the London Evening Standard: “Last season I was extremely happy on and off the pitch and that’s when you play your best football.

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“I wanted to show my happiness to the fans, let them know that I want to be here and try to take Fulham forward. I love playing football here. That’s what I want to do, long may it continue.”

“It’s a massive accolade that Rafa Benitez wants me.

“It’s a pat on the back to myself I guess, to know that other managers appreciate what I’m doing.”

This season has seen Cairney turn out just 11 times for the Cottagers after a persistent knee injury, and has netted once.

He already has 11 Premier League appearances under his belt during his time with Hull City, while he also has picked up one international cap for Scotland.

In other Newcastle United news, the club have been handed renewed hope in takeover talks after a crucial meeting.

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