North-East report claims Benitez will ‘prioritise’ a January bid for long-term midfield target

According to the Northern Echo this morning, Rafa Benitez will rekindle his interest in Fulham star Tom Cairney in January, with the report stating he will ‘prioritise’ a deal for the playmaker regardless of who is in charge at NUFC.

As we were made aware of over the summer, Newcastle have made a number of approaches for the Fulham midfielder over the past year, seeing an alleged £20m offer rejected according to Slavisa Jokanovic – who persuaded the board to hold on to their prize asset in a bid to boost their promotion push for the 2017/18 Championship season.

Cairney remained at Fulham over the summer, also signing a new deal in the process, but their form in the first 16 games of the new season has been nothing like as impressive as they were during our stint in the second tier.

They currently sit 17th in the Championship – as close to the bottom three as they are to the play-off places – and with this in mind, it makes you wonder if Cairney would now push for a move to Newcastle, with his hopes of top flight football appearing to be fading as far as Fulham are concerned.

Whether Newcastle fans would or should encourage a move for Cairney is another matter however.

He was the only player to reach double figures in both goals (13) and assists (11) last season, but he’s been out injured more than he’s been fit so far this season, bagging just 1 goal and no assists in the 7 he’s played in thus far.

I believe the signing of a striker should be the the ‘priority’ personally, but you can be sure Rafa will be wanting reinforcements in that department too. Cairney would give us added creativity from midfield at least, with him being able to play in the number 10 role.

The Echo claim Benitez will be doing ‘all he can to persuade those above him to support him in the transfer market’, stating that Cairney is ‘set to be one of his leading targets for the second transfer window in a row’, but unless new owners arrive, or there’s a chance of tact from Fulham or Mike Ashley, it’s hard to see how this deal suddenly comes off after we failed miserably in our move for him over the summer.

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

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