Newcastle United are now favourites to sign Arsenal's Lucas Perez, according to a report in Spain.
Rafa Benitez wants to bring the striker to St James's Park this summer.
Benitez admitted his interest in Perez, signed by Arsenal from Deportivo La Coruna last summer, after Sunday's 2-0 win over Hellas Verona.
"I like the player, because I have good friends in La Coruna," said United's manager.
"I know that he did really well. He's come here and not played in many games, but I like the player."
Television de Galicia report that Newcastle now "lead" the race for Perez.
Arsenal want £13.5million for the 28-year-old, who was restricted to a handful of appearances last season.
Perez has made it clear that he wants to leave the club this summer.
Asked if the striker’s future lay elsewhere last week, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: “Yes, because we have a congestion of strikers.
“I don’t like to lose him, because, for me, he’s a top-quality striker, but we have many strikers.”
Meanwhile, Benitez and managing director Lee Charnley are under pressure to move unwanted players out of Newcastle.
“We are trying to move players out to bring players in,” said Benitez.
“We know where we are and what we need.”
United kick off their Premier League campaign on Sunday with a home game against Tottenham Hotspur.
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