Opinion: Newcastle must rival Fulham for Antonio Candreva

According to Tuttomercatoweb, Claudio Ranieri is keen to bring his countryman Antonio Candreva to Craven Cottage in January, but Newcastle should make sure he makes a Tyneside transfer instead.

What’s the word?

Well, reports suggest that Fulham are planning a swoop for Candreva in January to increase their attacking options as they attempt to climb from the foot of the table.

The 31-year-old only signed a new deal with the Nerazzurri in the summer but has become a bit-part player at the San Siro – he has played only 362 minutes of football this season.

Matteo Politano’s form has seen the number 87 lose his place in the line-up and, as both club and player have appeared to come to a compromise, it is believed that he will be available for loan in January with a possible option to buy.

Rafa Benitez is used to making shrewd signings as Mike Ashley’s financial backing has largely remained minimal, but this is a move that the Spaniard should be making regardless of the funds he is given as we enter the New Year.

A striker’s dream

The former Lazio man has a wand of a right foot and is adept at coming inside to have a powerful pop at goal or play a pinpoint cross into the box, the latter of which will be music to the ears of Salomon Rondon – the big Venezuelan is one of the best target men in the league and his brace against Bournemouth earlier in November showed what he is capable of when given a decent delivery.

Benitez has found success playing with three-at-the-back against Burnely and Candreva could offer a more technical alternative to DeAndre Yedlin at wing-back as, having spent his entire career in Italy where defensive work-rate is more of a necessity than an option, his tireless tracking would enable him to play that role to great effect while offering more in the final third than the speedy American.

A loan deal would make sense for all parties and, as he is valued at ¬£12.6m by Transfermarkt, the midfielder would possibly be a bargain buy in the summer if his six month spell at St James’ Park is a success.

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