Creativity from the centre of the pitch has been a real issue for Newcastle United this season, and it is certainly somewhere that Rafael Benitez must look to strengthen when summer comes around.
Few could argue that midfield maestro Jonjo Shelvey is the main man when it comes to creating chances, but aside from the former Swansea City star, there are few who can have anywhere near the same impact.
Ayoze Perez has often been utilised as a playmaker behind the main striker, but the Spaniard is lacking in the vision and technique to pull strings and dictate the tempo, much more suited to running with the ball at his feet with his close control.
One man who they have previously been linked with to sort the issue out is Fulham’s Tom Cairney, but according to the Watford Observer, despite the Magpies still holding interest, Premier League rivals Watford and West Ham, who are said to have seen an £18million bid rejected in January, are also in the hunt.
The 27-year-old attacking midfielder has been instrumental in the Cottagers’ climb up the Championship table into a high flying third place ahead of the international break, despite knee issues limiting his playing time.
Before the two week break, Cairney was in fine form, scoring twice and chipping in with another assist in his last three games, demonstrating the sort of creative flair that Newcastle are screaming out for.
The reported asking price for the Fulham captain is around the £20million mark, which would come about if the London side failed to secure promotion come the end of the campaign.
It might be a record fee for the Magpies, but when it is for the ideal player for a position the club desperately need to strengthen, it is worth every penny, especially when it means breaking the hearts of their top flight rivals.
In other Newcastle United news, one man has been left sidelined during international duty.