Newcastle make move for top-flight midfielder, Benitez sends scouts - reports
By Abigail Withey
Newcastle United have made a move for Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet, according to a report.
Il Secolo XIX has revealed that Magpies boss Rafa Benitez is keen on bringing the 23-year-old to St. James’ Park before deadline day at the end of August.
The Italian media outlet claims that Newcastle are the third club to show interest in the Belgian midfielder, as a club in Russia has submitted a bid as well as Ligue 1 side Marseille.
It is said that Sampdoria has responded to the bids by stating that the former Anderlecht player is not for sale this summer after he joined just a year ago.
It doesn’t look like Newcastle are giving up easily though.
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The Chronicle revealed yesterday during their live transfer blog (Sunday 20 August, 18.34) that reports in Italy suggested Benitez had “sent out a delegation” to watch the player in Genoa.
The young playmaker joined the Serie A side from Anderlecht last summer for a fee of around £9 million, and has since made 36 appearances for the club where he managed to score a single goal and provide one assist.
Football Insider verdict
Despite Rafa Benitez saying on Sunday that there were no transfer updates to make, it looks as though a deal to sign Praet is moving in the right direction. It’s understandable that the manager doesn’t want to shout about his transfer business, as he has missed out on a few stars over the summer and it’s likely that he may be keeping it quiet to avoid disappointment. After Newcastle’s performance in both their Premier League matches, it is crucial that the Magpies need to secure at least one or two new players. Defensively the side lacked a lot, especially with injuries to Paul Dummet and Florian Lejeune, and a suspension for defesive midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. Although Praet looks like a promising player, Benitez should really turn his attention towards strengthening his backline even further if he wants to stay in the Premier League.
In other Newcastle United transfer news, the Magpies are expecting to tie up signing of this Brazilian flyer this week.