By Russell Edge

28th Apr, 2017 | 3:40pm

Benitez in preliminary talks to sign 26-year-old as Newcastle overhaul begins - report

By Russell Edge

Newcastle have begun exploratory talks to re-sign Inter Milan defender Davide Santon, according to reports in Italy.

Football news outlet Tutto Mercato Web claim that the Magpies are interested in bringing full-back Santon to St James’ Park just two years after he quit the club.

It is said that manager Rafael Benitez has been in touch with Santon’s agent in recent weeks as he lays the foundations for what would be a shock summer move.

Tutto Mercato Web report that Santon’s entourage are keen to find him a new club this summer and the player wants to return to English football.

The Magpies brought the 26-year-old to Tyneside in 2011 from Inter and then allowed him to rejoin the Italian giants on loan in the winter transfer window of 2015, before they signed hum on a permanent deal that summer.

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Benitez knows the Italian defender well having managed him during his spell in the dugout at Inter in 2010-11.

The eight-time-capped Italian international has struggled to hold down a starting position at the San Siro this season and has made just 13 appearances.

Since rejoining his former side, his loan spell included, Santon has made 51 appearances across three seasons, and has failed to find the net.

Footballer Insider verdict:

Santon would probably be welcomed back to Tyneside with open arms, although there are likely to be doubts from fans about whether he is good enough for the Premier League. A versatile full back, he would offer good cover to the likes of Paul Dummett and DeAndre Yedlin. He has struggled in native Italy, and there are no signs of him improving with a return to England. The move would likely suit the player more than the club – he has a personal connection to Tyneside after starting a family with his Geordie girlfriend, who he met during his stint at the club.

In other Newcastle United transfer news, the club are eyeing up a sensational transfer for another former player.

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