Newcastle plan second raid on rivals for £12m-rated playmaker wanted by Benitez - report
By Matt Farr
Newcastle have not yet given up hope of signing Tom Cairney from Fulham, according to a report.
The Daily Mail report that Rafa Benitez is planning to renew his interest in the playmaker this summer, after emerging as one of the Championship’s top performers this season.
Cairney, 26, had been strongly linked with a move to St. James’ Park during the January transfer window, but a deal failed to materialise as Fulham set their asking-price at £20milion.
But Benitez remains undeterred in his pursuit of the goalscoring midfielder, and wants to add him to their ranks if they are promoted to the Premier League.
The Scotland international has contributed nine goals and 11 assists for Fulham this season, including a stunning 25-yard strike in the victory over Benitez’s side earlier this month.
However, the report suggests that Cairney could be available for a reduced fee of £12million, and if Fulham fail to earn promotion to the top flight, could struggle to keep hold of him.
Both sides are well-positioned in the promotion race heading into the final eight games of the Championship season.
Newcastle sit top of the league a point clear of rivals Brighton, while Fulham have benefited from a late surge which leaves them just one point behind Sheffield Wednesday in the final play-off place.
Football Insider verdict
Cairney would have been an excellent midfield resource for Benitez before, and he would be an even more important one now. His rich vein of form has seen him linked with a number of top clubs, and earn a potential senior debut for the Scotland national side at the end of the month. Fulham will be reluctant to sell, but his £12million valuation is already a great deal more appealing than the inflated £20million asking price two months’ ago, and provided Benitez is given the backing in the transfer market this summer, will jump at the deal. Newcastle will want to upgrade their players ahead of a potential return to the top flight, and Cairney fits the bill.
In other Newcastle transfer news, the Magpies have also readied themselves for an approach for this Premier League outcast.