NEWCASTLE UNITED will have to raise their valuation of Miguel Almiron by around £10m to have any chance of signing the Paraguay international this month.

The Magpies have told West Ham United they have no interest in selling Jonjo Shelvey, but their own attempts to land Almiron also look destined for failure.

Atlanta United are adamant they will not be selling Almiron for less than £25m, but the Newcastle hierarchy have told their counterparts at the MLS side that they value the 24-year-old at $20m (around £15.5m).

Mike Ashley is notoriously loath to engage in a bidding war by increasing his club’s original offer for anyone, and despite Almiron having agreed the framework of a personal wage arrangement with the Magpies, Newcastle officials have told the Atlanta board they will not be shifting their stance.

That would kill off any prospect of Almiron moving to Tyneside before the transfer window closes at the end of the month as there is no financial imperative for Atlanta to agree to a deal.

Mike Ashley ended a two-month exile from Newcastle games by watching Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea from the directors box at Stamford Bridge.

However, he did not speak to Benitez personally either before or after the game, and even though this weekend’s results have left Newcastle in the bottom three ahead of this weekend’s home game with relegation rivals, Cardiff City, he remains extremely reluctant to sanction any significant January spending while his attempts to sell the club remain ongoing.

“Am I optimistic about the team? Yes,” said Benitez, in the wake of Saturday’s defeat. “Optimistic about the other things (transfers)? I don’t talk about the other things. I was talking with Lee Charnley before the game. I haven’t seen Mike afterwards, but I knew he was here.”

West Ham are interested in signing Shelvey despite the midfielder struggling with a long-standing thigh problem that will keep him out of tomorrow’s FA Cup replay at Blackburn Rovers. However, Benitez does not want to sell the 26-year-old and Lee Charnley will be guided by his manager’s view.