BURNLEY have joined Newcastle United in the race to sign Tom Cleverley on loan from Everton, and the Magpies also face a huge battle to land another of their January targets, Norwich winger Robbie Brady.

Newcastle inquired about the possible availability of Cleverley earlier this week, and are hoping to sign the England international for the second half of the season.

Rafael Benitez has long been concerned about the lack of central-midfield options within his squad, and while Jonjo Shelvey will return from suspension in two games time, Cheick Tiote is expected to leave Tyneside on a permanent basis before the end of the transfer window.

Benitez has also inquired about Manchester City’s Fabian Delph and Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who is also interesting Stoke City, but Cleverley is his preferred option as he attempts to add some additional energy and creativity to Newcastle’s midfield mix.

Everton boss Ronald Koeman is willing to allow Cleverley to leave this month, as he does not regard the former Manchester United player as an integral part of his plans.

Koeman, who is hoping to sign Manchester United duo Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay this month, is set to welcome James McCarthy back from injury next week, and has been playing youngster Tom Davies in the last few games.

It is expected that Cleverley will leave Goodison Park before the transfer window closes, but Burnley boss Sean Dyche will offer the 27-year-old a chance to remain in the Premier League at Turf Moor.

Despite re-signing Joey Barton, Dyche is keen to make further midfield additions, and Cleverley will be offered a loan move to Burnley, with an option for a permanent transfer in the summer.

That could prove more appealing than dropping into the Championship with Newcastle, although Newcastle officials remain hopeful of being able to hold face-to-face talks with Cleverley in the next few days.

Benitez is hoping to sign a central midfielder and a winger this month, and has identified Brady as a potential recruit in the wide positions.

Brady, who can play at left-midfield or left-back, is set to leave Norwich this month, with the Canaries needing to raise funds to finance their own rebuilding programme.

Norwich are currently demanding around £12m for the Republic of Ireland international, and are reluctant to drop their asking price as Brady’s former club, Hull City, are due 25 per cent of any sell-on fee.

Newcastle have not been put off by the Canaries’ eight-figure demands, but Leicester, Crystal Palace and Swansea have also been in touch with Norwich officials to register their own interest.

Brady has seen his reputation diminish since he dropped into the Championship last season, and may regard a return to the top-flight as the quickest way to resurrect his career.

Apart from Tiote, who would have left Newcastle in the summer had a buyer been available, Benitez is reluctant to allow anyone else to leave Tyneside this month.

Whether his stance alters if formal offers arrive remains to be seen, with Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba commanding increased attention from overseas.

Anderlecht have been linked with a possible loan move for Mbemba, 18 months after they sold the centre-half to Newcastle for around £10m.

Mbemba, who is currently preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations with DR Congo, has been a bit-part player this season, with Benitez having settled on Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark as his first-choice centre-half pairing.

Meanwhile, Jamie Sterry has returned to training with Newcastle’s first-team squad following the end of his loan spell at League One Coventry City, but Adam Armstrong has extended his loan with Championship side Barnsley until the end of the season.