Newcastle United briefing: Midfielders lined up by Rafa Benitez, Mike Ashley sends fixer to club

Newcastle United are closing in on a second summer signing.

Friday, 16th June 2017, 11:28 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 2:19 pm
Lucas Leiva

Rafa Benitez is interested in signing Liverpool's Lucas Leiva.

And the club has also been linked with another defensive midfielder.

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Meanwhile, owner Mike Ashley has tasked a key associate with attracting investment to the club.

Here's your daily briefing:

Defensively minded

Leiva is expected to leave Liverpool this summer after completing a decade's service at Anfield.

Maxime Gonalons, left

And Newcastle are understood to be looking at the 30-year-old, who is interested in returning to former club Gremio in Brazil.

Leiva, however, isn't the only defensive midfielder on the club's transfer radar.

New face in Toon

Mike Ashley, centre

There's been a new arrival at St James's Park in recent weeks.

But he's not a player.

Instead, Justin Barnes, an associate of Ashley, has been at the club, which Ashley is prepared to sell at the right price.

Barnes, known as Ashley's "fixer" at his Sports Direct empire, is looking into the possibility of selling the club – or attracting new investment.

Cheick Tiote

Efforts in the transfer market, however, have been continuing.

Benitez is working closely with managing director Lee Charnley.

The pair oversaw a huge rebuilding job last summer, and there will be a high turnover of players in this transfer window.

Back home

The body of Cheick Tiote has been returned to his native Ivory Coast.

Hundreds gathered at Abidjan's airport yesterday to receive his body yesterday.

Maxime Gonalons, left

The former United midfielder died after collapsing during a training session with new club Beijing Enterprises last week.

Manchester City's Wilfried Bony and Celtic's Kolo Toure were among the crowd.

Toure described Tiote as "a great player, a warrior" and said he was "shocked" by his death.

Tiote will now be laid to rest by his family.

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Mike Ashley, centre
Cheick Tiote