Newcastle plan pre-season clash with Italian club - report
By Danny Wright
Newcastle are lining up Italian club Hellas Verona for their traditional pre-season friendly at St. James’ Park, according to a report.
The Chronicle claims that the Serie A newcomers could travel to Tyneside in what might be the Magpies’ final friendly fixture of the summer.
It is understood that Rafa Benitez is also looking at potential Spanish opponents for the match and that he wants to have a “chunk of new recruits” on board before his side return to training ahead of the 2017/18 Premier League campaign.
According to the Chronicle, it is unlikely that Benitez will plan any long distance trips as he looks to recreate their approach to the close season from last year.
Newcastle usually end their pre-season with a home fixture at St. James’ Park and in the past have played host to Borussia Monchengladbach, Vitesse and Fiorentina.
Hellas Verona will be a Serie A club next season after achieving promotion as runners-up in Italy’s second tier.
They earned an automatic promotion spot on goal difference and finished four points behind champions SPAL.
They won the Serie A title in 1984/85 but recent years has seen them yo-yo between Italy’s top two tiers.
A large portion of the team that saw them go up this season were at the club on loan, with Manchester City’s Bruno Zuculini being one of them.
The Chronicle reports that the link between Benitez and his former assistant manager Fabio Pecchia, who is now with Hellas Verona, are key to them lining up a fixture.
In other Newcastle news, Ant and Dec have celebrated the Magpies’ title success on the set of Britain’s Got Talent.