Alan Pardew is weighing up a move for Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Mitrovic, frustrated at a lack of football, is ready to quit the club in this month’s transfer window.
I’m patient, but we will see. My patience is almost to the end, so we will see. I want to play. I want to be on the pitch. I’m patient, but we will see.Aleksandar Mitrovic
The Serbia international – who has made six substitute appearances and scored one goal in the Premier League this season – wants to be playing regularly ahead of the summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.
Former United manager Pardew, now in charge of West Bromwich Albion, wants to sign a striker in the window.
And Pardew will consider a move for Mitrovic if the club sells defender Jonny Evans.
Benitez, reluctant to lose any players this month bar midfielder Jack Colback, would only allow Mitrovic to leave if he could secure a replacement.
Mitrovic last played for United early last month.
The 23-year-old has recovered from the back problem which sidelined him over the festive period.
However, he wasn’t involved in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to league leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Mitrovic is behind Joselu and Dwight Gayle in the pecking order at United, the club he joined from Anderlecht in the summer of 2015 in a £13million deal.
Benitez has used Mitrovic sparingly since taking over at Newcastle.
Mitrovic spoke about his future in November.
“I’m patient, but we will see,” said Mitrovic.
“My patience is almost to the end, so we will see. I want to play.
“I want to be on the pitch. I’m patient, but we will see.”
Asked about the World Cup, Mitrovic added: “It’s a big thing for the whole country, for all the Serbian players and for all the people in Serbia.
“It’s a big thing for my country, for my family and for all people in Serbia.
“If you want to do something there, you have to be ready.
“If I want to be ready, I have to play games and to be on the pitch scoring goals.”