Newcastle have reportedly begun negotiations with Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho and they lead a host of Premier League rivals who are all vying for his signature.
Coutinho is set to return to Barcelona at the end of the season after a 12-month loan spell at Bayern Munich.
The Brazilian did not do enough to convince the Bundesliga side to trigger the purchase clause in the contract.
Barcelona will turn to the Premier League in a bid to offload the midfielder this summer.
And Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo claim Newcastle are leading the pack and have already made contact with the 27-year-old.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are all said to have registered their interest.
Magpies owner Mike Ashley is closing in on a £300million sale of the club to a group of wealthy Saudi Arabia investors led by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
If the takeover goes through then heavy investment is expected to help Newcastle challenge at the top of the table.
And the potential new owners have apparently identified former Liverpool playmaker Coutinho as the ideal star to take them to the next level.
It was thought a move to St James’ Park would only materialise if ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is brought in to replace Steve Bruce.
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But Mundo Deportivo claim Coutinho would still be open to joining Newcastle if Rafael Benitez returns to the helm, as has been suggested this week.
Meanwhile, Leicester have also been linked with a move for Coutinho as Brendan Rodgers managed the midfielder during their time together at Liverpool.
But the Northern Irishman ruled out a reunion with the Barca star.
“I’ve seen lots of speculation around young Phil,” Rodgers told the Eamonn and the Gaffers podcast.
“I don’t think… Philippe’s a wonderful player, a brilliant talent.
“But he would be someone who is way out of our price bracket.
“The market I feel is going to be very difficult this year, this coming summer.
“It’s one where we have discussions but there’s certainly nothing concrete at this stage.”
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