Promotion hopefuls 'identify' Newcastle United star as top target, Ex-Magpies flop linked with shock Premier League return

Newcastle United are preparing for Saturday afternoon’s trip to Liverpool with Premier League safety within touching distance.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 5:00 pm

Back-to-back wins for Steve Bruce men’s, plus a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, has opened up a vital eight-point advantage on the relegation places.

With Fulham not in action until next weekend when they face Chelsea, it gives the Magpies the opportunity to go a further 11 points clear but Anfield, as fans know too well, is no easy task.

Meanwhile, here are the latest rumours concerning Newcastle today:

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Newcastle United winger Jacob Murphy. (Photo by JON SUPER/AFP via Getty Images)

Watford identify Jacob Murphy as ‘top target’

Watford are ready to make Jacob Murphy their number one target if they seal an immediate return to the Premier League.

It has been widely reported that the 26-year-old is out of contract at St James’s Park this summer, although there are conflicting reports insisting he has one year remaining.

Murphy has excelled in his wing-back role in Steve Bruce’s starting XI which has led to calls from supporters to hand the boyhood fan a longer-term deal.

But according to Football Insider, the former Norwich City man isn’t short of interest, with Watford, Rangers and Southampton credited with interest.

The Hornets need a maximum of three points from their final three games to seal automatic promotion back to the top-flight.

Former Toon loanee Nabil Bentaleb ‘wanted’ by Burnley

Former Newcastle United loanee Nabil Bentaleb is reportedly wanted by Burnley ahead of his contract expiring at Schalke.

The Algerian is all-but-certain to leave the German outfit this summer following their relegation from the Bundesliga.

Bentaleb, 26, has featured just 10 times this term – first being left out for disciplinary reasons before undergoing groin surgery.

The former Spurs midfielder was loaned to Newcastle last season under similar circumstances but was unable to persuade the Magpies into a permanent deal.

However, according to reports in Algeria and Italy, Bentaleb could be handed a Premier League lifeline by Sean Dyche’s Clarets.

Michael Owen predicts Liverpool v Newcastle outcome

Former Liverpool and Newcastle striker Michael Owen has predicted Steve Bruce’s side to come up short against the English champions.

There is everything to play for at Anfield with the Reds chasing down a Champions League spot, while Newcastle are eyeing top-flight safety.

Indeed, Bruce’s side have lost just one of their seven games, however Owen is tipping the visitors to leave Merseyside empty-handed.

Owen told Bet Victor: "Despite an early exit from the UEFA Champions League, Liverpool have picked up in recent weeks.

"They will have been disappointed to have only taken a point against Leeds in their last match, however, overall, the Reds’ performances have been a lot better than they were at the start of the year.

"Newcastle have done well to get themselves in a good position at the bottom end of the table, losing only once in their last seven matches.

"That is good form in anyone’s book although I do feel, at Anfield, the Geordies may come up just short against Liverpool side that are chasing a top four finish."

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