Report: Napoli open talks for long-term Newcastle United target Dennis Praet

General Views of St James' Park before the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa at St James' Park on February 20, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Newcastle have been dealt a further blow in their pursuit of long-spanning target Dennis Praet.

Tomas Rincon (L) of Torino FC competes with Dennis Praet of UC Sampdoria during the Serie A match between Torino FC and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on September 17, 2017 in...

Newcastle United have been dealt another blow in their pursuit of Sampdoria's Dennis Praet this summer, as Serie A giants Napoli have begun talks to sign the Belgian starlet, according to reports from Calcio Mercato.

The 24-year-old has been on the Magpies' radar for over a year, with the club failing to land his signature with a record £17.5 million bid last term (the Sun), and despite continued interest in the midfielder, it looks as though they could miss out.

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez is seen during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea at St. James Park on May 13, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Serie A runners-up Napoli are eyeing Praet as a successor to club legend Marek Hamsik - with the Slovakian announcing his intentions to leave this summer - and Newcastle will be hard pressed to compete financially.

It's understood that Praet has a £23 million buy-out clause in his current contract, and the Magpies' club-record transfer remains at £17 million for Michael Owen in 2005, with owner Mike Ashley being bemoaned by fans in recent times for tightening the purse-strings at the helm of the club.

Marek Hamsik of SSC Napoli celebrates after scoring the 2-1 goal during the serie A match between SSC Napoli and Torino FC at Stadio San Paolo on May 6, 2018 in Naples, Italy.

It's understood that Rafa Benitez will be backed with better funding this summer, but whether it will be enough to secure the signing of Praet with the likes of Napoli lurking remains to be seen, and the Spaniard may end up missing out on his target for good.

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