RAFAEL BENITEZ has no intention of selling key members of the Newcastle United squad in the January transfer window after fresh interest in striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The Magpies have already learned that Chelsea are keen on captain Jamaal Lascelles and there have been suggestions an £18m offer could be on the cards.

Now Napoli, who have admired Mitrovic since his days with Anderlecht, are being credited with a fresh attempt to take the £14m striker to Serie A in the New Year.

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The interest, although there has been no approach or offer, comes at a time when Mitrovic is enjoying being in the thick of things on Tyneside.

Mitrovic’s agent Nenad Jestrovic said: “It is very unlikely at the moment. The only certainty right now is that he will end the season at Newcastle United.

“In the past, there was some contact (with Napoli) but for now it’s out of the question. He will spend another six months in England and then will decide what to do with his future.”

Mitrovic has started the last three matches and scored four goals to help steer Newcastle into the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup and to the top of the Championship.

He had found it hard to break into the starting line-up under Benitez because of the goalscoring start made to Dwight Gayle’s career in the North-East.

Gayle has scored 11 times but injury opened the door for Mitrovic – who missed the first four games of the campaign through suspension – to show he can lead the line and he delivered.

Benitez, named the Championship’s manager of the month for October, is a firm believer Gayle can make it on to the international stage in an indication of just how much he fancies the former Crystal Palace man.

The striker arrived from Selhurst Park in a £10m move in the summer and when the man who signed him was asked if he felt Gayle could play for England, Benitez said: “I think he’s an interesting player.

“He has a lot of good things. When you talk about strikers what they have to do is score goals, and he can score even more because he’s working hard in training and he is keen to learn. When we do finishing training he is always there and keen to improve.”

Gayle missed out on the player of the month award to Fulham’s Sone Aluko.

Benitez has, meanwhile, hinted Rolando Aarons has returned to training this week after recovering from the broken foot he sustained against Cheltenham in August.

The 20-year-old, tipped for a bright future when he broke on to the scene under Alan Pardew, has not hit the heights he was expected to, but Benitez remains a fan.

He has warned Aarons, though, that he will have to work hard to get his place back.

Benitez said: “He’s getting closer. He’s running and doing the tests. He was fine. He had surgery. He was wearing trainers and now he’s fine with the boots so he’s quite close now. He has to be fit for a while and then we will give him some time and some minutes.”