​Newcastle United are reportedly plotting a January move for Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney, as Magpies boss Rafa Benitez looks to strengthen the spine of his team.

The Northern Echo state the Spaniard will prioritise a swoop for 26-year-old when the winter transfer window opens on January 1, regardless of whether the Toon are under new ownership or not.


With ​Newcastle still in discussions with PCP Capitals Partners group's Amanda Staveley over a lucrative takeover of the North-East club, speculation is rife that Benitez could be a given a handsome transfer budget to solidify his side's status in the ​Premier League.

Cairney has been a long-standing target of Newcastle and both a host of Championship rivals and top-flight clubs also, but now a move could be imminent come next year.  

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The Scottish international made his first senior appearance for the Tartan Army earlier this year against Canada, and has stated he wants to establish himself for his country.

A former ​Hull City and Blackburn Rovers player, Cairney switched to ​Fulham in June 2015 and has totted up 85 appearances for the Cottagers scoring 20 goals.

Toward the end of last season, he was instrumental in Slavisa Jokanovic's side's march up the ​Championship table which saw an unlikely berth in the play-offs, before Fulham lost to ​Reading in the semi-finals in May.

This season however has not been such a happy time for the West-Londoners. Fulham are without a win since late September, after a poor run of form sees the club in 17th spot ahead of the international break, looking nervously over their shoulders and with Jokanovic under mounting pressure.

Cairney has been developing talent now for the past few years and it seems a move to a higher level is in the offing. Newcastle appear to be at the head of the queue for the player's services at this moment in time.