Moussa Sissoko is edging towards the exit door at Newcastle United – as the Tynesiders prepare to move for Sebastien Haller.
Sissoko’s representatives are understood to have held talks with Inter Milan in recent days.
And the Italian club is mulling over a bid for the midfielder, who is desperate to leave St James’s Park before the transfer window closes.
Newcastle, however, are yet to receive a formal approach for the £35million-rated France international, who has not played for the club so far this season.
Nanager Rafa Benitez – whose side beat Bristol City 1-0 at Ashton Gate on Saturday to climb up to seventh place in the Championship – is keen for a resolution to the long-running Sissoko saga.
Benitez also hopes that the club can sign three more players by August 31.
Utrecht striker Haller and Everton defender Brendan Galloway are among Newcastle’s targets.
Benitez has reportedly spoken to Haller by phone in recent days, and the 22-year-old, according to L’Equipe, is open to a move to St James’s Park.
Newcastle’s move for Galloway, wanted on a season-long loan, is on hold while Everton pursue their own defensive targets.
Meanwhile, Inter manager Frank de Boer has confirmed his club’s interest in Sissoko.
De Boer, also considering a move for Sporting Lisbon’s Joao Mario, said: “We need a strong team, and perhaps it’s true that our midfield is not complete yet at the moment.
“We will have to keep a close eye on what happens on the transfer market. Joao Mario and Sissoko are interesting players.”
United manager Rafa Benitez has stressed in recent weeks for Sissoko’s suitors to table bids well before the transfer deadline.
And Benitez said again this week that he would be “happy” for Sissoko to stay at the Championship club, which does NOT need to sell him.
Sissoko angered Newcastle earlier this month with a series of interviews in which he reiterated his determination to leave in the wake of relegation.