When reports emerged on Sky Sports that Newcastle are looking to sign Sampdoria playmaker Dennis Praet, undoubtedly a few among the Toon Army would have looked through a furrowed brow. After all, it doesn't make for a good reading when your playmaker has one goal and one assist to his name despite 32 appearances in the league.
Dennis Praet (Sampdoria) in action during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and Benevento Calcio
According to Italian outlet Sport Mediaset, the Italian side have already rejected a bid of £17.5m for the Belgian midfielder, and the fee to bring him to the club could end up some way north of that figure. The general consensus in Italy is the 23-year-old's long term position is central midfield, the same position he played 84 minutes for Sampdoria in their 2-1 win over Benevento last weekend.
Which brings us to the question, are Newcastle targeting the wrong midfielder?
Rafa Benitez has elected to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation in his first two games in the Premier League, with Ayoze Perez behind Dwight Gayle. Given how poor Newcastle were in both the games, defensively and offensively, the former Liverpool boss might elect to play in a 4-3-3 formation once captain Jonjo Shelvey returns from his suspension.
If Newcastle are indeed looking to buy a midfielder (which they desperately need), they will be well served to try and sign Leander Dendoncker who has been linked to repeatedly to Everton. According to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Adrelect are willing to listen to offers for the Belgian international for a fee around £18 million (which is close to the fee Sampdoria rejected for Dennis Praet).
Anderlecht's Belgian midfielder Leander Dendoncker (L) and Charleroi's Senegalese midfielder Christophe Diandy
Dendoncker is primarily a box-to-box midfielder and was one of the standout performers for the Belgian side alongside Youri Tielemans as they won the League last season. However, his biggest highlight of the season was a particularly well-timed run into the box, which concluded with the 22-year-old finishing with aplomb against Manchester United in the Europa League.
He would be an invaluable addition to the Magpies, and an energetic upgrade on all the midfielders in the squad at the moment.