Newcastle United transfer news: Rafa Benitez's future under the spotlight as Atletico Madrid and Lazio want Magpies duo

Atletico Madrid have reportedly entered the race to sign Newcastle United striker Ayoze Perez this summer.

By Liam Kennedy
Wednesday, 12 June, 2019, 17:06

Reports in Spain earlier this week suggested Valencia were keen on the Magpies’ top-scorer, but fresh links emerged with Diego Simeone’s men today.

According to Libertad, Madrid have a “simple interest” in the former Spain under-21 international, who has made no secret of his desire to return to his homeland in order to pursue a full Spain cap.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Diego Simeone, Manager of Atletico Madrid during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Valladolid CF at Wanda Metropolitano on April 27, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Perez has long been linked with a move away from St James’s Park, with Tottenham Hotspur long-time admirers of the 25-year-old, who netted 13 goals for Rafa Benitez’s men last season in all competitions.

Meanwhile, an interesting report has emerged from Italy suggesting Jamaal Lascelles might well be a cut-price option for Lazio, as they look to strengthen their backline ahead of the Serie A season.

Lascelles, United’s captain, is rated in the £16million bracket by the report – it remains to be seen whether manager Rafa Benitez, whose deal runs out in just 18 days, would sanction a deal for one of his key players at such a low price.

And while takeover talk has quietened down for 24 hours or so, at least, the future of manager Benitez has come under the spotlight once again.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 20: Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton FC at St. James Park on April 20, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Links to Chelsea and Roma have emerged over the last few days and again they persist.

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United fear Benitez is “running down his contract”.

Benitez’s deal at St James’s Park expires on June 30, and the 59-year-old is yet to agree a new deal.

United have not approached any other manager about the post.

On the incoming front a full-back has been linked with a move to St James’s Park.

Benfica defender Andre Almeida is a reported target but Benitez will have to battle Premier League rivals Leicester City and Brighton for his signature.

According to Portuguese publication Record, United are monitoring the 28-year-old ahead of a summer move, with the right-back valued at around £8million by the Estadio da Luz outfit.

And finally, the Premier League fixtures are out at 9am tomorrow – here’s United’s record on the opening day over the last 12 years.

It makes for grim reading.