The Magpies’ January transfer business has stepped up a notch following the impending arrival of Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid.
Trippier, an England international, is the first but won’t be the last through the door at St James’ Park this month, with the new owners targeting four or five further additions.
On Eddie Howe’s wishlist are two central defenders, a midfielder and a striker as the Bournemouth legend looks to keep United afloat in the Premier League.
Lucas Digne linked with Newcastle
With Jamal Lewis - currently injured - and Matt Ritchie, plus the versatile Javier Manquillo the only options at left-back, a new recruit in that position would not go amiss.
Naturally, Digne’s situation at Everton has alerted the Magpies, which perhaps becomes a little more intriguing with Benitez retaining his summer interest in Longstaff.
Digne is an established Premier League full-back having made 127 appearances for the Goodison Park club since arriving from Barcelona in 2018.
Similar to Trippier, the 28-year-old is a good crosser of the ball, both from free-kicks and open play, and offers a threat on set pieces.
However, as far as Benitez is concerned, Digne’s career on Merseyside is over following a fallout between the pair. Indeed, the Spaniard has already signed a replacement in the form of Ukraine international Vitaliy Mykolenko.
Given Digne’s pedigree, he won’t be short of enquiries.
Chelsea and West Ham United are already potential suitors - and two clubs, at this stage, the former Paris Saint-Germain man would prefer to join over Newcastle.
There have been reports that Newcastle will try to use Longstaff as a makeweight in a deal to sign Digne. However, the deal doesn’t happen if the player isn’t receptive.
Digne’s stance could change but at present, he is keen to assess his options before making a final decision, suggesting a rumoured deal will be dragged out.
Certainly, United’s priorities lie elsewhere with a central defender and a striker a more pressing matter.
Sean Longstaff wanted by Rafa Benitez
There is nothing to stop Everton from biding on Longstaff. Indeed, some publications have already reported that to be the case, though United have knocked the offer back.
Howe still sees value in the midfielder, particularly after he returned to the starting XI to put in a solid performance in the 1-1 draw versus Manchester United last time out.
The United head coach previously told NewcastleWorld it was up to the player to prove he deserves a longer-term future on Tyneside as his contract ticks into the final months.
Howe said: “First of all, Sean is a very good player.
“He will have an opportunity I’m sure as the fixtures progress to showcase his talents and show to me and everybody connected with the club that he has a long-term future here.
“That’s in his hands as well, not just ours.
“He’s a young player and obviously has a long association with the club. I recognise that and the journey he’s been on through various aspects of the football club.
“We have competition in that position. Jonjo (Shelvey) has been in good form and Joe Willock has come back into the team.
“With Isaac Hayden, Sean and Jeff Hendrick as well - we have good bodies in there to fight for places and that’s very much what I want.”
Newcastle are open to offering Longstaff a new contract to extend his stay at his boyhood club, however, on a personal level, the midfielder may be tempted by a Benitez reunion.
Benitez was the manager that handed Longstaff his first-team debut in December 2018 before his breakthrough campaign was cruelly cut short due to a knee injury.
In the following summer, where Longstaff attracted interest from Manchester, Benitez left the club and Longstaff has struggled to reach similar heights since.