NEWCASTLE UNITED have been encouraged to make a fresh attempt to lure Nicolai Jorgensen to Tyneside in the summer – provided Rafa Benitez can keep the club in the Premier League.

The Magpies’ shortage of striker options was exposed at Crystal Palace on Sunday when Dwight Gayle was the only recognised player to fill that role in the 18-man match-day squad.

Gayle worked hard against his former club and is capable of getting in behind the defenders to score, but he does not add the sort of presence Benitez would prefer to have leading the line in the top-flight.

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It is hoped Islam Slimani will impress when he recovers from the thigh problem he has arrived from Leicester City with – and a string of good performances could lead to a full-time summer switch.

But having spent the majority of January trying to sign Jorgensen, only for it not to happen because of a failure to reach an agreement over the fee, Newcastle will keep an eye on him in the remaining months of the campaign.

The Danish striker was unable to find the net in Feyenoord’s 1-0 defeat to VW-Venlo on Sunday before he was replaced by Robin van Persie in the closing stages.

He then told reporters in Holland he would still like a crack at the English top-flight eventually.

“It was more of a matter for my agent and the club, you hear a lot, try to focus, but you’re also a bit confused,” Jorgensen said.

“As long as I am here, I give everything, I am happy here and I am proud to play for Feyenoord, and when the day comes, it is apparently the right time.

“It’s a dream for every footballer to play in the Premier League, if I keep working hard, there will be a club, I can also compete in another league, I think I’m ready for a next step, but now I’m at Feyenoord.”

Newcastle are understood to have had two offers rejected for Jorgensen, and pulled out when an initial £20m valuation increased to nearer £25m. Newcastle’s second bid is thought to have been around the £16m mark.

Benitez has put talk of summer transfers on the back burner for now, even informing his scouting team to take a break before then re-focusing on the summer window.

Sunday’s draw at Palace means Newcastle sit a point above the relegation zone ahead of this weekend’s visit of second-placed Manchester United.

Had Mo Diame’s opener not been cancelled out at Selhurst Park then Benitez’s side would have been up into 12th and in a much stronger position.

Diame said: "Recently, we have had a lot of similar games that we are winning then after we draw at the end. It's all about focus, staying together and keeping the shape of the team. It's hard. It's going to be difficult to learn, but we know that. We have to keep going.

“It was a point, and we need points to stay up. You always have to take it as a good point. If you take three points, it's better. But I think it's a point that will be important at the end.

"We have 12 games, and we need to keep going and fighting. That's it. Nothing else."

The 30-year-old has looked more like the player who impressed during spells at Hull, West Ham and Wigan since the turn of the year – having struggled to make an impact in his 18 months before that.

"Nothing has changed, just the work,” he said. “I've been working hard to get back to the player I want to be. That's it, just the work.

“Of course, it's what I want to do and what I have to do. If Newcastle signed me, it was to have this kind of performance, so it's important to show I can stay at this level or give more."

His displays have led to calls back at home in Senegal for him to come out of international retirement and push for a place in the World Cup squad this summer. He is having not of that.

Diame, with a smile, said: "They know already that I took a lot of time to think about this decision. I had a lot of meetings and a lot of telephone calls with my chairman in Senegal and the manager. I made my decision already.

"I think the team is doing well. They did well to qualify. I wish them all the best. I'm going to follow them and hope they go far.”