Newcastle United transfer news: Bin Zayed Group takeover talk rumbles on as clock ticks on Rafa Benitez contract; Man United name Sean Longstaff price plus Premier League defender linked

With just 13 days remaining on Rafa Benitez’s contract, and the players due back training just five days later, takeover talk continues to dominate the Newcastle United landscape.

Social media has brought claim and counterclaim in the last 24 hours, with a number of seemingly less than reputable sources, tweeting ‘done deal’, albeit in Arabic. That’s sent United fans into a frenzy, although many have decided to treat these claims, however positive, with the usual scepticism.

Crucially, though, it is still “no comment” from all of the people that really matter in this deal.

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Mike Ashley’s people are quiet, so too is Newcastle United, the Premier League and Rafa Benitez. The Bin Zayed Group, who released two statements last month, have also gone to ground. None are briefing off the record either.

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez (left), owner Mike Ashley (right).

And while that may seem a bad thing, it should not be viewed as such. It must be stressed, that while nothing is being said that categorically does not mean nothing is being done.

The biggest detail in all of this is the end of Benitez’s current deal, with concludes on June 30. Hopes are reportedly high a deal can be struck by then, both a takeover and potentially new terms for the Spaniard, but the clock continues to tick, with Mike Ashley still firmly seated at the top table at St James’s Park.

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Benitez will not push the button on any deals incoming or outgoing while he has control over transfers – and one such deal could be for Sean Longstaff, with Manchester United reportedly set to start the bidding for the midfielder at just £18million.

Longstaff has stated his desire to stay with the Magpies this summer, and beyond, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has placed the player right at the top of his summer wanted list.

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Meanwhile, according to TEAMtalk, Newcastle and Arsenal are interested in signing Matt Targett from Southampton.

The left-back was originally linked with United in the January transfer window of 2017.

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Leicester City, Aston Villa and Fulham are also said to be keen on the 23-year-old former England Under-21 international.

United are in the hunt for a left-back this summer with wideman Matt Ritchie used in that slot for much of the 2018/19 Premier League campaign.