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