The transfer wheels finally look set to begin turning at Newcastle United amid reports that Montpellier are closing in on a January deal that would see midfielder Henri Saivet return to France.
That is according to French publication L'Equipe, who suggest that the Ligue 1 club are in advanced discussions over an initial loan agreement that would run until the end of the season and include the option to make the move permanent in the summer for a fee of approximately €5m (£4.4m, $6.1m).
Saivet was brought to Newcastle from Bordeaux by Steve McClaren on a five-and-a-half-year contract for a £5.5m fee in January 2016, but made just four appearances on Tyneside as the Magpies were demoted from the Premier League before joining Saint-Etienne on a season-long loan that summer.
A disappointing stint at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard meant he was unable to earn a full-time transfer and the Senegal international has been used sparingly upon his return to the North East, starting in the Carabao Cup second-round defeat to Nottingham Forest and appearing as a late substitute in the recent FA Cup victory over League Two leaders Luton Town.
Saivet was handed a shock start by manager Rafael Benitez for the morale-boosting 3-2 win at West Ham United before Christmas that ended a run of nine matches without a victory. He endured a memorable afternoon at the London Stadium, following up a disastrous error that led to an early goal by equalising with a 25-yard free-kick just four minutes later.
The 27-year-old - along with the likes of Jack Colback and Jamie Sterry - was said to be among a handful of players told they were free to leave Newcastle this month, with suggestions that the club had to sell before they could buy.
Lingering uncertainty over a proposed takeover of last season's Championship winners has left the frustrated Benitez in the dark over his budget for the current window, but it emerged yesterday (16 January) that divisive owner Mike Ashley - who is now said to have ended talks with Amanda Staveley's Middle East investment fund PCP Capital Partners - has now given the green light to three new signings to boost Newcastle in their fight against relegation.
However, with funds still tight, it seems likely that those deals could all be loans. Chelsea winger Kenedy, Liverpool striker Danny Ings and Crystal Palace left-back Pape Souare are all of interest in addition to a list of goalkeepers that includes Napoli's Pepe Reina and Martin Dubravka of Sparta Prague.
Findlay extends loan
In terms of outgoings, Newcastle have already loaned Adam Armstrong and Ivan Toney to Blackburn Rovers and Scunthorpe United respectively and it has now been confirmed that Stuart Findlay has extended his second spell with Steve Clarke's Kilmarnock until the end of the season.
The Scottish defender has made 16 appearances for Killie so far this term, mostly at left-back, and is happy to have prolonged his stay north of the border.
"It's good," he told the club's official website. "It has been a frustrating last couple of days trying to get everything sorted but knowing I'm going to be at Killie for the next six months is good and hopefully I can get back to work and hit the ground running."