Rafa Benitez has been heavily linked with a move for Dennis Praet and Oguzhan Ozyakup over the past year, but the signing of either could prove to be a very difficult task this summer – with several European giants now in the mix.
Starting with Ozyakup – the Besiktas midfielder who Newcastle scouts are believed to have watched extensively over the past few months ahead of a potential summer bid.
He’s now agreed to a new contract (which means he won’t leave on a free this summer as first expected), however this does contain a £10.5m release clause – a modest fee and one we could afford, but there’s a catch.
It’s emerged from Turkey that Dortmund are now serious contenders to sign him, with AC Milan, Everton and Lazio all credited with interest.
Whilst we have the ‘Rafa pull’, the majority of the above clubs play in Europe, so he may take some convincing if their interest proves to be serious.
Then to Dennis Praet, a player we haven’t been ‘linked’ with recently, but one we had a bid rejected for last summer as Rafa looked to sign a creative midfielder (so he’ll still be very much on the club’s radar).
The problem is, he’s now being tipped to make a big move from Sampdoria this summer after impressing in Serie A, and it’s sounding as though Juventus could be his next destination – a club we couldn’t compete with.
I hope I’m wrong, with both being talented midfielders who’d inject some spark into our midfield, but we may have missed the boat on both.