NEWCASTLE UNITED are set to miss out on one of their leading January transfer targets, with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte increasingly inclined to keep Kenedy at Stamford Bridge for the second half of the season.

Rafael Benitez tried to sign Kenedy on loan in the summer, and having been unable to prise the Brazilian from West London prior to August’s transfer deadline, the Newcastle boss made a renewed approach at the start of this month.

He thought a deal was close at the start of last week, but Conte refused to release Kenedy ahead of Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Swansea. The Chelsea boss’ position has not softened over the weekend, indeed if anything, sources in London claim he is now even more reluctant to release the 21-year-old for the second half of the season.

Having been unable to make any progress with his own attempts to sign a left-sided midfielder capable of playing at wing-back, Conte is set to name Kenedy in his starting line-up for Wednesday’s FA Cup third-round replay with Norwich City.

The former Fluminense trainee is one of the few alternatives in the Chelsea squad to Marcos Alonso, and Conte does not want to pile too much work onto his established first-choice left wing-back. Alonso sat out Chelsea’s goalless draw at Norwich in the original third-round tie, and is not expected to feature in the Stamford Bridge return in two days’ time.

Conte is involved in a stand-off with Chelsea’s board over their reluctance to back him in this month’s transfer window – the Blues boss would like to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, but those above him are refusing to countenance such a deal – and the internal politics at Stamford Bridge increasingly look like scuppering Newcastle’s hopes of landing Kenedy.

Conte is refusing to allow anyone to leave unless he is able to add to last week’s purchase of Ross Barkley from Everton, and while Benitez will continue to hold discussions with the Italian, his hopes of finally signing Kenedy have receded significantly in the last seven days.

“We have to consider that, in this period, to face all competitions is not simple,” said Conte, in the aftermath of his side’s laboured weekend draw with Leicester City. “You must have a big squad to do this.”

Missing out on Kenedy would be a major blow to Benitez, as the South American was one of the few players with Premier League experience he thought he could sign this month without the need for a significant financial injection.

With Mike Ashley refusing to commit to any further investment this month, and with Benitez having ruled out selling anyone currently involved in the first team, loans are effectively the Newcastle manager’s only way of adding to his squad.

He is also interested in Chelsea attacking midfielder Charly Musonda and Liverpool striker Danny Ings, but admits he is not close to signing anyone despite the transfer window having been open for more than a fortnight.

“Now it is the transfer window, the next question is always, ‘Do you need help?’ The answer is yes, we do need help,” said Benitez, after Saturday’s draw kept Newcastle three points clear of the relegation zone. “We will try to do our best.

“We are not close to anyone at the moment. The players that are already playing, all of them will be here. The players that are not playing, it depends on each one, but if we cannot bring players, then maybe we will not move players (out).”

Jonjo Shelvey falls into that category, as does Chancel Mbemba. There were reports at the end of last week suggesting Mbemba had been offered to West Ham, but as things stand, Benitez is adamant the DR Congo international will be remaining at St James’ Park.

“At the moment, apart from (Jamie) Sterry and (Jack) Colback, the others are players that maybe we will need,” he said.

Saturday’s game saw Joselu’s second-half strike cancel out Jordan Ayew’s opener for Swansea, but having failed to convert a succession of first-half chances, Newcastle have now gone seven games without recording a home Premier League win.

“I really don’t know the reason why we haven’t been winning at home,” said DeAndre Yedlin, who made a goalline clearance in stoppage-time to prevent Wilfried Bony claiming a dramatic late winner. “I can’t put my finger on it, but we have to find a way to start winning here.

“We need to find a way to get wins here and quick. Mainly for the fans because they have been right behind us all season. They stuck with us even during the tough run, so we just need to find a way, any way we can.”

Newcastle’s next game takes them away from Tyneside, although it hardly represents an easy opportunity for three points. Benitez’s side visit Manchester City in Saturday’s tea-time kick-off, less than a month after losing to the runaway league leaders at St James’.

Newcastle were criticised for their negative tactics on that occasion, although by keeping things tight, they might have nicked a point in the closing stages as they created a couple of decent chances in the final five minutes.

They are unlikely to be any more expansive in five days’ time, but Joselu insists it will not be a case of travelling to the Etihad Stadium with damage limitation the main priority. Manchester City have not been at their scintillating best in recent weeks, and Newcastle’s players sense a potential opportunity, albeit an extremely difficult one to realise.

“We will have to work hard because we have a very difficult game,” said the weekend goalscorer. “We know how tough it will be, but in football everything is possible, and we know that. We will be playing at a difficult ground, away to a good team, but we have taken more points away than at home this season. We just need to keep going and see what we can do.”

There are unlikely to be any signings lining up at the Etihad, although the next few days will still be dominated by talk of potential signings and a possible takeover. Talks between Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners group and Ashley have stalled, with the two parties still to agree a purchase price that would enable the Premier League to begin the formal process of approving a change of ownership.

A deal before the end of the month now looks all-but-impossible, but Newcastle’s players are adamant the ongoing uncertainty is not affecting their performances on the pitch.

“It’s not affecting the dressing room at all,” said Yedlin. “We cannot control any of that, so we do not think about any of it. We just try to keep improving, do what we need to do to stay up, and get points on the board.”