Newcastle United are increasingly hopeful of completing a loan move for Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge until the end of the season, according to reports.
The Magpies are desperate for firepower up front after scoring just 22 league goals in the Premier League this season, with boss Rafa Benitez identifying the out-of-favour Reds striker as a potential solution to his goalscoring problems.
According to The Times, the club are in the final stages of negotiations with the Liverpool hierachy, with Newcastle expected to pay an upfront £1.5m loan fee for Sturridge, as well as covering his £120,000 wages for the remainder of the season.
Sturridge has been the subject of widespread interest across Europe, with a loan agreement with Serie A giants Inter already in place with the Reds. The 28-year old has stalled on making a decision though, fuelling speculation that he is not keen on a move to Italy.
Inter have seemingly played down speculation over Sturridge's potential arrival over the last 24 hours, with director of football Piero Auselio quoted by Calciomercato as saying; "Sturridge? He is still on our transfer shortlist, we have important players already but we we cancel nobody from the shortlist.”
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It is understood that Newcastle have now stepped to the head of the queue after failing to land Rafa Benitez's preferred target, Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen. The Danish international was the subject of two bids of £13m and £15m respectively last week, but both offers were rejected, with Benitez now moving on to other targets.
Sturridge's last appearance for the Reds came on December 6, when he came on as a substitute in the 7-0 mauling of Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Champions League.