Newcastle United make loan approach for Napoli forward ahead of January transfer window - reports
Newcastle United have reportedly approached Napoli over the possibility of taking forward Simone Verdi on loan until the end of the season.
Rafa Benitez is desperate to bolster his squad in the January transfer market, with the Magpies sitting just five points above the Premier League drop zone.
Atlanta United attacker Miguel Almiron has been heavily touted with a move to Tyneside, though talk of a potential switch has been somewhat muted of late, despite the player remaining keen.
Speculation has suggested Almiron's supposed Â£25million fee is proving a major stumbling block in the deal - given a firm indication that Benitez will once again be handed an underwhelming transfer budget.
The loan market is something which Benitez will almost certainly explore and IL Roma, an Italian newspaper, claim the 58-year-old has swooped for Verdi.
Indeed, the Magpies must free up a loan spot in the squad after Benitez has already exercised the Premier League rule of two loan players only from fellow domestic English clubs in Salomon Rondon and Kenedy.
However, the rule does not apply for overseas players, meaning the ex-Liverpool boss is free to sign Verdi, if reports prove to be true and Napoli allow him to depart.
Verdi, who joined Napoli from Bologna in the summer, has not featured for the Serie A club since October after injury halted his early progress at his new club.
An unused substitute in Napoli's previous two fixtures, the 26-year-old is said to be open to the possibility of regular first-team football in the second half of the campaign.
The suggested Verdi approach comes hours after The Sun reported Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri wants to do a straight swap deal - sending Tom Cairney to St James's Park, and in return, lure Jonjo Shelvey to Craven Cottage.
Cairney is a player who has interested Benitez in the past - he reportedly tried to sign him in 2017 - however the Cottagers' Â£20million price-tag prevented the Magpies from securing any deal.
Meanwhile, Shelvey has appeared just nine times for Newcastle this season with injury meaning he has played just 20 minutes of the club's previous seven Premier League fixtures.