LNTUP

Newcastle United set to target Danny Ings in January

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Newcastle United are interested in bringing in Liverpool striker Danny Ings on a loan deal in January in order to boost their forward line.

Magpies boss Rafa Benitez wants to add firepower to his Newcastle squad and ideally wants to bring in two forwards – although that may depend on whether there are any takers for unsettled Aleksandar Mitrovic, who was made available in the summer but did not attract sufficient interest to tempt United.

Benitez wanted to bring in Arsenal’s Lucas Perez in the summer and was interested in Stevan Jovetic but could not afford either. And while he is hopeful that he will have some funds in January even if there is no change of ownership before Christmas, his meetings with the recruitment team have focused on targets who could be brought in within the constraints of a budget.

Ings fits that bill and is back to full fitness after a nightmare couple of years with injuries.

Ings scored four for Liverpool’s under-23s at Bristol City earlier this month and has featured for the first team in the League Cup, but the Reds would be prepared to loan him out in January.

With just ten goals from 11 games, it is the area that requires most work and Benitez will be using the international fortnight to found solutions to their scoring problems. They will pin-point set pieces as an area to work on after the club’s effectiveness from dead balls has waned in recent weeks.

But the problem is personnel and Benitez will be stressing to the club’s hierarchy that even if the takeover hasn’t happened, not recruiting would be counter-productive.

Benitez is fully aware that he needs more options in attack and with his reservations over Mitrovic making a parting of ways inevitable at some point, that leaves just Dwight Gayle, Joselu and Ayoze Perez who he appears to trust.

Joselu’s form has dipped and the pressure will be on the former Stoke man when the team returns after the international break. Gayle looked lively but Saturday was only his third start of a campaign that began with questions over his own future.

Benitez is scouting both at home and abroad but recognises he needs someone with knowledge of the domestic game.