Newcastle United face a major job persuading Ross Barkley to quit Chelsea this summer, Football Insider understands.

The playmaker, 26, was reported by the Telegraph today to be one of two top targets for Rafael Benitez if he were to return to St James’ Park this summer.

Barkley and fellow England international John Stones are both said to be on Benitez’s wish list if the Saudi Arabian-backed takeover goes through as now expected.

However, Newcastle would face a sizeable task enticing Barkley to quit Stamford Bridge for the north-east despite the growing excitement surrounding the prospective new owners’ ambition.

A source with knowledge of the Chelsea man’s situation told Football Insider he is happy and settled at the club and confident of establishing himself as a key man in an improving side.

He has made a relatively meagre eight Premier League starts among 20 appearances in all competitions for the Blues this season, and has also had some off-field scrapes.

But the source points towards Barkley’s outstanding two-assist display in the 4-0 thrashing of Everton immediately before lockdown as proof of his growing status.

He was getting regular game time at that point, even if he has spent large chunks of the season on the sidelines.

Barkley wants to prove himself for a leading Champions League club and believes he can satisfy his trophy and personal ambitions at Chelsea.

He also has three years remaining on the contract he signed when joining from Everton in January 2018.

In other Newcastle United news, it can be REVEALED that there is more white smoke on takeover as telling new detail reported.