Vurnon Anita and Yoan Gouffran could net themselves new deals at Newcastle United – by helping the club win promotion.
Anita and Gouffran are out of contract at the Championship club in the summer.
And there have been preliminary discussions over new contracts for the versatile pair.
Anita and Gouffran have been regulars this season under Rafa Benitez, whose side take on Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux tonight (5.30pm kick-off).
United manager Benitez – who this week spoke to managing director Lee Charnley about their futures at St James’s Park – feels the pair could have roles to play next season should the club return to the top flight.
Asked about their contractual situations, Benitez said: “I had a conversation with Lee Charnley on Thursday, and we were talking about that.
TURN TO PAGE 39
“We are pleased with them, and it’s just a question of to see if we can progress and make something with them.”
Gouffran, 30, has been used as a left winger,, while 27-year-old Anita, sidelined with an ankle injury, has played as a right-back.
“I think both of them have done really well for us now, but also they have Premier League experience so they are kind of players we need,” said Benitez, whose side are a point clear of second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion in the title race.
“They are already settled down here, and so it’s not bad to see them around.”
Anita joined Newcastle from Ajax in the summer of 2012, while Gouffran joined from Bordeaux six months later.
If they were to leave Tyneside at the end of their deals, Benitez would be left with two significant holes in his squad.
Meanwhile, Benitez says defender Chancel Mbemba must be patient as he waits for a chance after returning from the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.
The DR Congo international has hardly featured for United since September’s home defeat to Wolves.
“When he came back (from AFCON), he was a little bit stiff with a few problems,” said Benitez. “But this week he has been training better.
“So the problem I have now is the competition between players.
“They are doing well, and imagine we have 27 players, just two injuries, so 25 players have to compete for just 18 places.”