Newcastle owner Mike Ashley 'ready to splash the cash' to land £40million international midfielder - reports
Newcastle United are reportedly eyeing a move for Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko - with Mike Ashley believed to be 'ready to splash the cash'.
The French international joined the Blues in a deal worth around £40million in 2017, but has found opportunities limited under Maurizio Sarri.
Indeed, the former Monaco man has spent the current campaign on loan with Italian giants AC Milan - where has been the subject of a high-profile spat with manager Genaro Gattuso.
That leaves Bakayoko's future precariously in the balance, with his days looking numbered both in Milan and at Stamford Bridge.
And reports from Italy - via Calciomercato - claim that Newcastle have extensively scoured the midfielder in recent weeks ahead of a potential summer move.
With Mo Diame and Isaac Hayden likely to leave St James's Park this summer - and Jonjo Shelvey's future uncertain - Rafa Benitez could be keen to strengthen his options in the centre of the park.
And while Bakayoko's price tag may leave some supporters sceptical as to whether a move could materialise, the same reports suggest that Ashley is ready to open his chequebook in a bid to keep Benitez at the club.
Questions must still be asked as to whether Newcastle could meet the midfielder's wage demands, and there may be alternative options available over the summer.
But few may have the quality Bakayoko undoubtedly has - having shot to prominence during a successful spell at Monaco.
The midfielder also has a solitary cap for France having featured regularly for his nation's younger sides.