By support

9th Jan, 2017 | 3:57pm

Newcastle make approach for rival playmaker - report

By Matt Farr

Newcastle have made an enquiry about the availability of Fulham prize asset Tom Cairney, according to a report.

The Newcastle Chronicle claim that Rafa Benitez wants to add the Scotland midfielder to his ranks this month, ahead of their Championship title and promotion push.

Benitez has sanctioned an approach for the Craven Cottage playmaker as he casts the net wide in his search for January reinforcements.

Rival Championship outfit Fulham are believed to want at least £10million for the midfielder’s services, and it remains to be seen if Newcastle would be willing to match that valuation.

The 25-year-old has been in impressive touch for Fulham this term, contributing five goals and four assists from 25 appearances in all competitions.

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Fulham also have promotion ambitions of their own, and will not likely sell Cairney without a fight. They are currently 10th in the Championship, six points behind the play-offs.

Benitez has wasted little time searching for midfield reinforcements, having reportedly targeted several Premier League players since the transfer window opened just over a week ago.

The Daily Mail reported at the end of December that the Magpies had asked Everton about taking Tom Cleverley on loan until the end of the season, while they are also said to be interest in Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Manchester City’s Fabian Delph.

Football Insider verdict

Cairney would be a handy addition to Newcastle’s ranks, but the issue would be whether or not Newcastle would be willing to spend £10million on him. He is a decent player, but he is not yet proven at Premier League level – and that’s ultimately the kind of the quality that Benitez will want to be bringing in as he prepares to return to the top-flight. He made 11 appearances in the top-flight for Hull in 2009 – his debut campaign – but he has spent the remainder of his career fighting the cause of Championship clubs. He is one of the best in his position in the league, but unless they can get him any cheaper than Fulham’s valuation, it could be a risk. Although you could also argue that it is a risk work taking.

In other Newcastle news, the Magpies are eyeing up a La Liga deal for this first-team outcast.