Dennis Praet did not appear to be too disappointed after missing out on a move to Newcastle United in the summer.
"I didn't want to leave,” the Sampdoria midfielder said in quotes reported by talkSPORT, after The Magpies had a club-record £17.5 million bid knocked back. "I love this club and the president (Massimo Ferrero) is a special person.”
This has not put Newcastle off from making another move for Praet at the earliest possible opportunity, however. According to Football Italia, Rafael Benitez’s side are still leading the chase for a player who has also attracted the interest of Everton in recent times.
Though Newcastle may have to rest heavily on the influence of their manager as more and more clubs express an interest in Praet. Football Italia adds that a number of Bundesliga clubs have joined the chase for the one-time Anderlecht wonderkid.
Rafa could be key
Benitez did not enjoy the greatest period of his managerial career in Serie A with Napoli, failing to break Juventus’ stranglehold of the title.
But the Spaniard remains one of the most reputable and respected tacticians in Europe and appears to have given Newcastle more pulling power in the transfer market than at any time in recent years – although owner Mike Ashley’s reluctance to splash the cash has not exactly had a positive impact on recruitment.
Yet, if Newcastle are to beat off competition for Praet, they need their manager to work his magic and portray the newly promoted northerners as a club on the up.