NEWCASTLE UNITED have made loan inquiries about both Conor Gallagher and Sander Berge as they attempt to secure a midfield replacement for Jonjo Shelvey ahead of tomorrow night’s transfer deadline.

Shelvey is on the verge of completing a permanent transfer to Nottingham Forest, with his imminent departure set to leave a central-midfield hole in Newcastle’s squad.

Eddie Howe has accepted that the timing of Shelvey’s exit means it is extremely unlikely the Magpies will be able to secure a permanent replacement ahead of tomorrow’s 11pm deadline, so Newcastle’s recruitment team are focusing their attention on loan options.

The Magpies have made inquiries about both Gallagher and Berge, but at this stage, they have been unable to progress to the stage of holding formal discussions with either player.

Newcastle have a long-standing interest in Gallagher, and have held talks with Chelsea officials over the England international in the past.

Gallagher, who is also the subject of strong interest from Crystal Palace, has been heavily involved in Chelsea’s first-team squads under Graham Potter.

The 22-year-old has made 18 Premier League appearances this term, nine of which have been starts, but finds himself facing increased competition for a first-team spot in the wake of Chelsea’s remarkable January spending spree.

The Blues’ spending might not be finished yet, with an offer on the table for Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez, and if Chelsea were to sign the Argentinian World Cup winner, Gallagher might well be tempted to push for a move away from Stamford Bridge in order to safeguard his own international ambitions.

A switch to St James’ Park would potentially appeal, although the Newcastle hierarchy expect Chelsea to be reluctant to loan a senior player to one of their rivals for a Champions League place.

Berge is an alternative option, with the 24-year-old having been repeatedly linked with a move away from Sheffield United this month.

Fulham have also held talks over the midfielder, but Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom has made it clear that he does not want to lose Berge while his side currently occupy an automatic-promotion position in the Championship.

Newcastle are willing to consider an initial loan deal for Berge, with a commitment to buy in the summer for a fee of around £20m, but it remains to be seen whether that will be sufficient to convince the Sheffield United board to do business.

Speaking on the search for a replacement for Shelvey earlier this morning, Howe said: “From a football perspective, I wouldn’t want to lose him (Shelvey), and we’ll see what we can do in the market to bring a player in.

“There’s no guarantee on that. We’ll try, and we’ll see what we can do, but I think in terms of a permanent signing, that will be very difficult. There’s the potential for a loan situation, but it’s got to be the right player. We won’t just be signing a player for the sake of it.”