NEWCASTLE UNITED face a major battle to sign Kenedy on a permanent basis this summer, with a number of Europe’s leading clubs ready to make a move for the Chelsea loanee.

Kenedy signed a season-long loan when he swapped Stamford Bridge for Tyneside in January, but Newcastle’s attempts to insert a clause into the deal that would have given them first refusal over a permanent switch at the end of the campaign were rejected.

Rafael Benitez is extremely keen to sign the 22-year-old on a full-time basis, with Kenedy’s impressive form having been a key factor in Newcastle’s rise into the top half of the table. The Brazilian has scored two goals and started every game since his making his debut in the 1-1 draw with Burnley at the end of January.

Kenedy has intimated that he is willing to consider a permanent move to the North-East, but his head could yet be turned by a competing offer from one of Europe’s leading sides.

Bayern Munich and Paris St Germain have been strongly linked with a summer move, while Tottenham are also understood to be keeping a close eye on the winger’s performances in a Newcastle shirt.

To further complicate matters, a new Chelsea boss could opt to keep Kenedy at Stamford Bridge next season. Antonio Conte is understood to harbour serious concerns over the South America’s attitude and professionalism, hence his willingness to sanction his loan departure at the turn of the year. However, with Conte expected to leave at the end of the current campaign, Chelsea’s next manager could adopt a very different standpoint.

Bayern Munich’s interest underlines just how highly Kenedy’s stock has risen in the last three months. The newly-crowned Bundesliga champions are set to lose Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in the summer, with both of their midfield mainstays due to become free agents.

The fact that Kenedy is being mentioned as a possible replacement highlights the extent to which he has turned heads during his eight appearances in a Newcastle shirt. Similarly, Paris St Germain’s ongoing interest suggests European scouts regard him as capable of handling a step up in standard to the Champions League.

Newcastle’s key bargaining chip will be the ease with which Kenedy has taken to life on Tyneside and carved out an influential role in Benitez’s first team.

Having become frustrated at his lack of opportunities at Chelsea – he has only made 27 appearances for the Blues since joining in August 2015 – he has relished the opportunity to be a senior performer with Newcastle.

He enjoys a close personal relationship with Benitez, and members of Newcastle’s backroom staff talk glowingly about his easy-going personality and willingness to work on the training ground. Any concerns over his attitude have been rapidly allayed, and he is clearly enjoying his new lease of life. It remains to be seen, however, whether that will be sufficient to persuade him to push for a permanent move in the summer.