Newcastle aim to beat Real Madrid and Man United in race for rising Croatian star

Newcastle United are reportedly lining up a summer move for Croatia under-21 star Karlo Letica.

Monday, 30th April 2018, 9:29 am
Updated Monday, 30th April 2018, 9:36 am
Rafa Benitez

But they will have beat the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United to the goalkeeper's signature, with the duo scouting the keeper this season.

According to the Sun, Rafa Benitez reportedly sent his "top spy" to check out the 6ft 7ins Croatian, who is the current No 1 at Hajduk Split.

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Making first choice Martin Dubravka's Sparta Prague loan switch permanent remains one of Benitez's top priorities this summer, he may also be tempted to make a move for the highly rated 21-year-old.

It is understood it could cost United around £4million to keep impressive Dubravka on Tyneside beyond the summer, while Letica is thought to be rated in the £8million bracket by his club.

Youngster Letica is reportedly keen to land first-team football, should he leave.

And while that is not something Benitez is likely to be able to offer at St James's Park immediately, the report suggest the manager might loan the player out to the English second tier to gain valuable experience elsewhere.

One other caveat to any potential deal is regarding Benitez's budget.

While the Spaniard will be hoping for a substantial amount to strengthen United's lot this summer, past decisions taken by the club's hierarchy mean this is definitely not guaranteed.

The transfer budget may decide whether the manager decides to spend on two keepers, or improve elsewhere.

But Benitez is someone who respects the need for a top class goalkeeper.

He fought a 12 month battle to improve United's lot in the goalkeeping department, despite many believing he was well stocked with the likes of Karl Darlow and Rob Elliot.

While his attempts to land top target Pepe Reina failed, Benitez was able to bring in Dubravka in January and the Slovak has been a revelation since his arrival.