Rafa Benitez made an attempt to bring France midfielder Maxime Gonalons to Newcastle in the summer before his move to Roma in July, according to the player's agent.
The 28-year-old holding midfielder, who has represented his nation seven times, is said to be greatly admired by Benitez, with Gonalons' agent claiming that the Spanish coach also tried to take him to Napoli three years ago, when he was in charge.
Frederic Geurra, Gonalons' agent, recently spoke to Naples radio station Kiss Kiss, saying that the Newcastle boss was very keen to prize the midfielder away from Lyon in the summer.
As reported by the Chronicle Live, he said, “Maxime was very close to Napoli, three to four years ago.
“Benitez wanted him a lot, and wanted him this summer at Newcastle. We have preferred the Italian championship because it is very tactical football, and Maxime works on his game day after day.”
However, with this being said, the French international has only played 157 minutes since arriving in the Italian capital, and is yet to start a competitive game this season.
With the likes of club hero Danielle De Rossi and Radja Nainggolan ahead of him in the pecking order, it seems his decision to join the Serie A may have cost him precious game time.