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Newcastle United have now hired intermediaries to act on their behalf in a crack at signing Benfica midfielder Soualiho Meite during the January transfer window, according to 90min.

The Magpies are desperately attempting to improve boss Eddie Howe’s options in the mid-season market trying to avoid the drop. Newcastle could start Saturday’s visit to relegation rivals Leeds five-points adrift of safety if Watford beat Norwich on Friday night.

Norwich holding Watford to a point at Vicarage Road will also create a three-point buffer to Newcastle. While the Canaries would sit two-points better off than the Toon in 18th-place.

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So, Newcastle are badgering away in the transfer window and feel Meite, plus his Benfica teammate Darwin Nunez, can help. Portuguese newspaper Record have already reported the Toon are willing to pay an astronomical sum for Nunez, who is valued at €60m (£50m).

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The Magpies have intermediaries acting on their behalf in talks to bring Nunez to St James’ Park this month. Newcastle also have agents talking to Benfica over Meite, who is likely to be available for a loan transfer. He has struggled to settle since joining As Aguias last July.

Newcastle transfer target Meite of Benfica unseen in the league since October

Benfica paid Torino €7m (£6m) for Meite’s transfer, but he has only made 12 appearances so far. Boss Nelson Verissimo has also only fielded the 27-year-old in the league six times and not at all since October. He has opened eight games across all competitions so far.

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Newcastle would not be signing Meite from Benfica in the January transfer window for his goal threat. He is yet to score or provide an assist for As Aguias, and also only scored and assisted once apiece for Torino last term. The Frenchman featured 16 times for Il Toro.

United could potentially also request via their intermediaries to include purchase clauses in any deal. Meite’s Benfica contract runs to 2026, but has not been a hit under Verissimo yet.

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