Newcastle United are demanding a player-plus-cash deal to allow Liverpool target Georginio Wijnaldum to leave the club this summer. The Reds want to sign the Dutchman and he is also keen to leave the relegated club, but the Magpies have demanded Lucas Leiva as part of the deal as Rafael Benitez looks to bolster his squad ahead his first season in the Championship.
According to the Telegraph, Newcastle are demanding a fee of around £27m ($35.3m) to allow the midfielder to leave the club, but will settle for around £20m-£25m if they allow the Brazilian to move to St James' Park as part of the deal. The former Reds boss is a big admirer of the Liverpool midfielder and is keen to reunite with him following their spell together at Anfield.
Lucas is said to be apprehensive about taking a step down to play in the Championship, but his close bond with Benitez and the potential chance to captain Newcastle next season could tempt the midfielder to make the move. The 29-year-old is not a regular member of Jurgen Klopp's starting XI and the prospect of playing on a regular basis could also prompt a switch to St James' Park.
The 25-year-old Netherlands international joined the Magpies from PSV Eindhoven last summer and had an impressive debut campaign despite Newcastle suffering relegation. Wijnaldum played every game in the Premier League last season scoring 11 goals and providing five assists from midfield. The Spanish coach, who is reluctant to let him leave, heaped praise on the Dutchman and believes he can play anywhere across the midfield and perform at the same level.
"That is the problem – because he is so good, he can play everywhere and do well. We were thinking about where to play him the other day, and we said: 'His best position could be behind the striker'," Benitez said in March when asked about the midfielder's best position, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
"But because he is doing well he can play on the right, he can play on the left," the former Real Madrid manager added.