NEWCASTLE UNITED are ready to fight Crystal Palace for the signature of Tammy Abraham – if Chelsea opt to sell the England international in January.

Abraham is currently on loan at Championship side Aston Villa, but the existence of a recall clause in his contract has led to mounting speculation that Chelsea could look to move him on permanently when the transfer window reopens at the turn of the year.

Blues boss Maurizio Sarri does not regard Abraham as part of his long-term plans at Stamford Bridge, and the Chelsea hierarchy look set to cash in on the 21-year-old.

Crystal Palace have already expressed an interest in signing the winger, and are understood to be prepared to pay around £10m.

However, Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez is a long-standing admirer, and is keen to make Abraham one of his leading January targets.

Benitez thought he had signed Abraham a year-and-a-half ago, having set up the framework of a deal that would have seen the forward become one of Newcastle’s first signings in the aftermath of their promotion from the Championship.

Chelsea had initially agreed to loan Abraham to St James’ Park, but the situation changed when Swansea City also declared an interest and offered a financial package that was more attractive than the one emanating from Tyneside.

Abraham moved to the Liberty Stadium, but his season in Wales did not go as planned as he could only manage five goals in 31 league appearances as Swansea crashed out of the top-flight.

He returned to Chelsea for pre-season, but was sent back out on loan to Villa in August. Newcastle did not rekindle their interest at that stage as they had already filled their two domestic loan slots with Kenedy and Salomon Rondon.

As things stand, the Magpies cannot make another loan signing, but with Chelsea having indicated a desire to set up a permanent transfer, Benitez will push the club’s transfer hierarchy to make formal contact with their counterparts at Stamford Bridge.

The Newcastle boss is determined to improve his attacking options in January, with Paraguay international Miguel Almiron a long-standing target. However, with Atlanta United continuing to dig their heels in over the forward, who is valued at around $20m by the MLS side, Abraham could emerge as a cheaper option.

The two-time England international has had an excellent first half of the season at Villa Park, scoring 12 goals in 16 Championship outings.

However, Villa boss Dean Smith accepts he will be powerless to prevent Abraham leaving if Chelsea opt to trigger their recall option.

“I’ve no idea about the contract situation if I am honest,” said Smith, “All we can do is work with him. We have a good relationship with Chelsea – Eddie Newton (Chelsea’s loan technical coach) was up here over a month ago, looking and checking at his development. He’s been developing with us all the time.”

Benitez regards Abraham as one of the brightest young talents in England, and given his age and the potential for future improvement, he would also appeal to Mike Ashley, who looks increasingly likely, to still be in charge in January.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have suffered another Asian Cup blow after Yoshinori Muto was belatedly called up to the Japan squad for the tournament in the United Arab Emirates.

Muto was left out of Hajime Moriyasu’s initial 23-man squad, but the Japan boss has had a change of heart and the Magpies forward will now be involved.

Muto will link up with the Japan squad after Newcastle’s home game with Manchester United on January 2.