NEWCASTLE

Rafael Benitez might have taken his Newcastle United players to Ireland for a week-long training camp, but the Magpies manager remains determined to make further additions to his squad.

Jacob Murphy remains a key target, and talks with Norwich officials remain ongoing, with the Canaries having rejected Newcastle’s initial offer of around £8m.

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However, the Magpies are also making renewed efforts to land another player they have been tracking for the majority of the summer – Liverpool winger Sheyi Ojo.

The Northern Echo: OPTIONS: Liverpool's Sheyi Ojo is wanted by Newcastle and could end up at Middlesbrough

Newcastle tried to sign Ojo on loan earlier this month, only for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp to veto the move because he was worried the 20-year-old would struggle to get regular game time at St James’ Park.

Klopp was keener on sending Ojo on loan to Middlesbrough, but Newcastle are ready to raise the stakes by tabling a £10m bid in an attempt to sign the youngster permanently.

Ojo was left out of Liverpool’s 25-man squad for the Premier League Asia Trophy, and Klopp could well be tempted to sell for an eight-figure fee.

Meanwhile, Yoan Gouffran is set to reject Newcastle’s offer of a new one-year deal in order to sign for Turkish side Goztepe, while Adam Armstrong is close to agreeing a deal to join Championship side Bolton Wanderers on loan.

SUNDERLAND

Having blasted his side’s slipshod defending in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to St Johnstone, it is no surprise that Sunderland boss Simon Grayson is being linked with centre-half targets.

Grayson was unhappy with the performance of his back four at the weekend, and his frustration makes it even more likely that Lamine Kone will be sold before the start of the new campaign.

If that is the case, he will have to be replaced, and Grayson has been credited with an interest in Bristol City’s Aden Flint and Aston Villa’s Tommy Elphick.

Flint, who is 28, has been linked with a possible move to Leeds United this summer, but the Yorkshire club are understood to be looking elsewhere, potentially creating an opportunity for Sunderland to make a move.

The Northern Echo: Flint vows to learn from red cards

Bristol City would be reluctant to lose arguably their best defender, but could be persuaded to do business for around £3.5m.

Elphick joined Villa last summer from Bournemouth, but has slipped down the Villa Park pecking order under Steve Bruce and will be allowed to leave.


MIDDLESBROUGH

Boro’s attempts to sign Nottingham Forest striker Britt Assombalonga remain ongoing, although strong interest from Burnley means the Teessiders face a huge battle to land the forward.

Having already seen a bid of around £10m rejected, Boro are ready to return with a package that could eventually be worth around £14m once potential add-ons and clauses are taken into account.

However, Burnley have pledged to match Boro’s offer, and the lure of Premier League football means that, as things stand, the Turf Moor club are favourites to complete a deal.

As well as looking to make further additions, Garry Monk is also keen to trim some fringe players from his squad, and Stewart Downing is set to hold talks with Birmingham boss Harry Redknapp.

The Northern Echo:

The former England international is free to leave the Riverside for nothing this summer, but while Birmingham want him, he could yet end up playing in Spain.

Malaga, Levante and Espanyol have all expressed an interest in Downing’s services, and while the winger will hold talks in the Midlands tomorrow, he is keen to assess all his options.


OTHER CLUBS

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk is considering handing in a transfer request in an effort to force through a move to Liverpool, according to the Sun.

The Northern Echo: Southampton's Virgil van Dijk has been linked with Manchester City

However, the Daily Express claims that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is keen to sign the Dutchman.

The Sun reports that Jose Mourinho wants Toni Kroos as part of any deal that takes David de Gea to Real Madrid.

The Spanish champions have renewed their interest in goalkeeper de Gea recently, and Mourinho has insisted that German midfielder Kroos is included as a makeweight should the transfer go through.

Chelsea are preparing a bid for Sergio Aguero - with Pep Guardiola having already sanctioned the Argentine striker's Manchester City exit, claims the Daily Star.

Meanwhile, Loic Remy is heading for the Chelsea exit, with Southampton and Everton both keen on the forward.