Newcastle face battle to land in-demand striker

Rafa Benitez is tracking Utrecht striker Sebastien Haller

Rafa Benitez is tracking Utrecht striker Sebastien Haller

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Newcastle United are targeting Sebastien Haller – but the club face a battle to sign him.

Rafa Benitez wants to bring the Utrecht striker to St James’s Park.

But Haller is also interesting Premier League clubs – Everton and Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with him, and Sunderland tracked him in January – and Monaco and Sporting Lisbon are also keen on the 22-year-old.

The France Under-21 international is understood to be interested in a switch to Monaco.

And Haller, also open to a move to a Bundesliga club, would need to be persuaded that Newcastle was the right move for him.

United manager Benitez needs another target man to compete with Aleksandar Mitrovic – who has missed the Magpies’ first three Championship games through suspension – for a place in his team.

Haller – who scored 24 goals for Utrecht last season – would cost upwards of £6million.

Meanwhile, Steve Harper has returned to Newcastle – as a goalkeeping coach.

Harper – who spent the second half of last season at Sunderland – will work with the young goalkeepers at the club’s Academy.

The moves brings an end to Harper’s long playing career.

“I’m delighted to be working with the young goalkeepers at the Academy,” said Harper.

“I’ve been involved in grassroots football in the area for the last six years, so I have extensive knowledge of the many junior football clubs throughout the region.

“It’s great to be back at the club in a coaching capacity and I’m looking forward to starting.”

Harper spent 20 years at Newcastle between 1993 and 2013 and made 199 appearances for the club.