NEWCASTLE UNITED have been linked with a potential move for Lyon skipper Maxime Gonalons.

Respected French sports newspaper L'Equipe claim Newcastle have made an initial inquiry about the defensive midfielder, who is about to enter the final year of his current contract with Lyon.

Magpies manager Rafael Benitez tried to sign Gonalons during his time at Napoli, but was unable to force through a deal for the Frenchman, who has spent his entire professional career as a Lyon player.

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Gonalons has experienced a difficult 12 months at the Parc Olympiques, with the French media claiming he has fallen out with influential Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas.

Given his contractual situation, Gonalons could be available for around €5m this summer, a price that could make him an attractive option to Newcastle's recruitment team even though he turned 28 in March.

However, the midfielder has also been the subject of interest from Serie A, and may prefer a move to Italy rather than head to the Premier League.

Benitez is determined to sign a new central midfielder this summer, and has also been sounding out the possibility of a move for Liverpool's Lucas Leiva.

He has declared an interest in Fulham's Tom Cairney, but Cottagers boss Slavisa Jokanovic continues to insist the Scotsman, who is valued at more than £20m, will not be leaving Craven Cottage this summer.

Further up the field, Newcastle have also been credited with an interest in St Etienne winger Jonathan Bamba.

The 21-year-old, who has represented France at every international level up to Under-21s, spent the first half of last season on loan at Belgian side Sint-Truiden, before moving to Angers for the second half of the campaign.

Benitez has identified Chelsea's Tammy Abraham as his leading attacking target, but the England Under-21 international does not want to decide on a possible season-long loan until he has finished representing his country at the European Under-21 Championships, which begin today.