Newcastle United could make a surprise raid on former boss Steve McClaren’s current side, Derby County, according to the Sun.
Despite a wonderful start to the campaign, Yoan Gouffran’s form has stalled in black and white, and Rolando Aarons is a long-term injury issue at St. James’ Park.
Christian Atsu recently departed for the African Cup of Nations and is only on loan from Chelsea, leaving only summer signing Matt Ritchie as a genuine first-team option under the Spaniard.
With that in mind, the former Liverpool and Real Madrid coach is understood to have identified the 24-year-old as someone who can aid his promotion charge.
A hugely rated talent, he was signed by the Reds as a youngster during Benitez’s spell in charge at Anfield, though his career has stalled somewhat in recent years.
However, the ex-England U21 midfielder has been in good form under McClaren at Pride Park this term, hitting nine goals so far this season.
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