INTER MILAN are hoping to wrap up an early summer deal for Ayoze Perez, and are set to table a formal offer for the Spaniard in the immediate aftermath of Newcastle United’s weekend game at Fulham.

Newcastle sign off their Premier League season at Craven Cottage on Sunday, and it increasingly looks as though their visit to West London will mark Perez’s final appearance for the club.

Napoli have already signalled their desire to sign the 25-year-old, and a number of Spanish clubs are known to be keen to offer Perez an opportunity to return to his homeland.

However, it is Inter Milan’s interest that is currently at the most advanced stage, and the Italian side are hoping to steal a march on their rivals by making a formal approach to Newcastle officials before the transfer window officially reopens.

Inter do not intend to sign loanee Keita Balde on a permanent basis this summer, and are also willing to listen to offers for attacking duo Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic.

They are expected to sign at least two new forwards, and regard Perez as an attractive option given his age and the consistency of his performances for Newcastle this season.

Inter officials will finalise their summer budget once qualification for the Champions League is confirmed – the San Siro side currently sit in third position in Serie A, four points ahead of fifth place with three games to play – and provided they secure a top-four spot, significant funds will be made available.

They are understood to value Perez at around €25m, and with the Spaniard only contracted to St James’ Park until 2021, the Newcastle hierarchy will be sorely tempted to cash in while the forward’s value is at its peak.

Perez has been a loyal servant since moving to Tyneside in the summer of 2014, but is aware of the mounting interest in his services and is keen to get the opportunity to test himself on the European stage.

He has refused to commit his long-term future to Newcastle on a number of occasions in the last few months, and went even further when he was asked about his plans in an interview with Spanish radio station Carrusel Deportivo earlier this week.

“I (could be) open to options that could come from other teams,” said Perez. “We’ll see what happens, and hopefully whatever comes, it’ll be positive.”

Newcastle’s recruitment operation is at something of a standstill at the moment, with Rafael Benitez’s future still up in the air.

The Magpies manager has hinted he is close to agreeing a new deal, but as things stand, is still set to relinquish his role at the end of next month.

No deals will be agreed until the situation is resolved, but even if Benitez was to remain in charge, he would struggle to hold on to Perez if clubs competing in the Champions League were to approach with formal offers.

Benitez has spent the second half of the season working with his recruitment team to compile a list of potential summer targets, and would be able to move reasonably swiftly on a number of different fronts if he was to sign a new contract.

Swansea winger Daniel James has been discussed as a viable target, while Tammy Abraham, who is currently on loan at Aston Villa, would also be of interest if Chelsea were willing to sell.

However, FIFA’s decision to uphold Chelsea’s transfer ban makes it much less likely that the Stamford Bridge club will be willing to sell anyone with even half-a-chance of making the first team this summer.

Newcastle have been forced to admit defeat over another long-term target, with Tom Cairney having signed a new five-year contract that commits him to Fulham until 2024.