In Focus: Newcastle eye £10m midfielder move; would be a key player in the PL

According to reports in The Mirror, Newcastle United are said to be eyeing up a £10m move for Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the Magpies have long been linked with a move for the playmaker and manager Rafa Benitez is said to be a huge fan of the 26-year-old.

A Newcastle scout was in attendance to watch the attacking midfielder on Saturday as the Cottagers beat Huddersfield Town 4-1 at the John Smith’s Stadium – a result that means Benitez’s side will secure an instant return to the Premier League if they beat Preston North End at St James’ Park on Monday night.

How has Cairney done this season?

He has been brilliant.

With 10 goals and 10 assists – as well as creating a total of 105 chances for his teammates – the Scotland international has been a key man in his side’s success this season.

Usually deployed behind the striker or as a central attacking midfielder, the 26-year-old’s creative tendencies and finishing abilities are one of the main reasons Fulham look set to snatch a play-off spot.

Can he cut it in the Premier League?

Judging by his performances this season, it has to be a yes.

He has consistently been outstanding and with a passing accuracy of 92% in 40 Championship matches this term, he has shown that he has the technical ability to be a success in the top flight after making 11 appearances for Hull there in the 2009/10 campaign.

If Newcastle win promotion on Monday, it will be no surprise if Cairney is one of their top targets this summer.

£10m seems a little cheap, no?

In this day and age, the quoted fee looks to be short of what he is worth considering his stats and what Fulham will want to achieve if they choose to cash in on him.

Of course, a potential deal could be made easier if the Cottagers fail to achieve promotion themselves, but Benitez could find himself paying closer to £15m or £20m if he is to get his man.

What’s the verdict, then?

If Newcastle go up and Fulham don’t then the Magpies will fancy their chances of prising Cairney away from Craven Cottage, although they may have to be wary of interest from other Premier League clubs too who are likely to have taken a closer look at the 26-year-old.