RAFA BENITEZ and Newcastle United’s recruitment team are already working together on transfer targets for the summer, even if the Spaniard is yet to commit to a contract extension.

With the Magpies effectively safe from relegation and looking forward to a second consecutive season in the Premier League finishing strongly, discussions behind-the-scenes are set to step up over the next few weeks.

And Benitez, whose representatives have already opened discussions over staying beyond his initial three-year contract, has had briefings with Newcastle’s scouts to plot a way forward.

Bournemouth duo Ryan Fraser and David Brooks are two of those players with Premier League experience who are on Newcastle’s radar, although the values of the pair have soared after impressive a season for the pair.

Newcastle have history of transfer talks with the Cherries having signed Matt Ritchie a few years ago, while they have previously had contact about striker Callum Wilson.

Brooks, who only moved from Sheffield United last summer, would be a much harder and more expensive recruit, given the way he has shone at the top level aged 21.

There are also a number of overseas players that Newcastle are known to be keen on because they offer better value for money.

Benitez, though, is still not sure what level of spending he will have available and that is one of the reasons he has not committed to a new deal.

A transfer agreement that could yet be much easier to secure would be a swap deal involving Dwight Gayle and Tom Cairney with Fulham.

The Cottagers have a long-standing interest in Gayle and vice-versa, so relegation from the Premier League and the probable departure of Aleksandar Mitrovic from Craven Cottage will see interest in Gayle resurface.

And given Benitez has previously got Newcastle to offer decent money for the previously £20m-rated midfielder Cairney, a summer agreement could be on the cards. Gayle, though, is on loan at West Brom and would be open to staying at the Hawthorns.