Newcastle United are upping their interest in Jesse Lingard and are ready to make the playmaker their top earner, according to reports.
The Magpies have been linked with the Manchester United man ever since the Saudi Arabian public fund took over the club.
As report the Times, Newcastle have made the signing of Lingard their priority in the January transfer window and are prepared to offer a deal that will make him the highest earner in the club’s history.
Lingard’s contract at Old Trafford is due to expire next summer and Newcastle want to kickstart their season by bringing in the England star and turn around their faltering campaign.
Talks have reportedly already taken place with Lingard’s advisers and he has been offered a four-and-a-half year deal in excess of the £100,000-a-week salary of the club’s present top earner, Miguel Almiron.
Last season Lingard sought a loan move away from United and dazzled in east London with West Ham.
He was widely expected to make the move permanent, though United could not seal an agreement with the Hammers after demanding more than £20million for the player.
So far this season things have gone from bad to worse for Newcastle, with striker Callum Wilson recently admitting the team were not fit enough under previous manager Steve Bruce.
‘I'd say first game of the season, we weren't fit enough in terms of being ready for a Premier League fixture,’ he said.
‘We weren't fit enough and we weren't in the right place. The pre-season is massive for the way it sets you up for the season.’
Wilson was speaking with West Ham’s Michail Antonio on the BBC’s Footballer’s Football podcast, and he added: ‘I noticed that (difference in fitness) when we played each other in the first game (West Ham won 4-2).
‘Every manager has different philosophies in terms of how to get players fit. Ours would have been different to yours, but come day one you're hoping that you've put the work in and you're in a good place.