NEWCASTLE UNITED will make formal inquiries for both James Maddison and Youri Tielemans as they look to invest from a position of strength next month.

The Magpies’ recruitment team have identified the Leicester City duo as key targets ahead of the reopening of the transfer window, with midfield regarded as a key priority area.

Maddison is a long-standing target, with Newcastle officials having made a number of unsuccessful attempts to sign the England international during the summer.

Leicester rejected at least two offers for Maddison from the Magpies, but the 26-year-old’s contractual situation at the King Power Stadium remains unresolved despite the fact that he is due to enter the final 18 months of his current deal.

Maddison and his representatives have refused to sign the contract offer that has been on the table since the start of the season, meaning Leicester could opt to cash in next month before the midfielder’s value begins to drop as he approaches the final year of his deal.

The Northern Echo: James Maddison has become an important player for Leicester in the Premier League Picture: Nigel French/PA

The situation is, however, complicated by the knee injury that kept Maddison out of Leicester’s Boxing Day defeat to Newcastle. He has seen a specialist about the problem, which also affected him during the World Cup, and the outcome of those medical discussions will influence Newcastle’s next move.

The Magpies are also interested in Tielemans, with Jonjo Shelvey’s position on Tyneside having forced a slight recalibration of transfer priorities.

Shelvey, whose current deal is due to expire in six months’ time, will automatically trigger a one-year contract extension if he starts two more matches. However, he is nursing a calf injury that will sideline him for up to eight weeks, and Newcastle could opt to allow him to leave in the summer.

Tielemans would be a ready-made central midfield replacement, with Newcastle having scouted him extensively in the last couple of years, although the Magpies are also understood to be considering Nice’s France Under-21 international Khephren Thuram.