Newcastle United are in the transfer market to strengthen their midfield options ahead of another testing campaign in the Premier League next term and have apparently turned their attentions to Serie A giants Juventus to identify a primary target.

Italian outlet Tutto Mercato claim that the Magpies have identified Juve’s dynamic central midfielder Stefano Sturaro as an ideal candidate to bolster the ranks in Rafa Benitez’s side’s engine room.

It is said that Newcastle have already had a bid of €13m turned down by the Italian champions, though Mike Ashley and co are said to be prepared to raise their offer to €14m with a further €2m in bonuses.

That proposal is expected to once again fall short, however, with Massimiliano Allegri’s side said to want €18m for the 25-year-old Italy international.

With Mikel Merino set to depart St James’ Park imminently, with a move to Real Sociedad said to be close to completion, Rafa Benitez will be left relatively short of depth in his central midfield options.

Mohamed Diame and Jonjo Shelvey formed a strong partnership in the middle of the park for much of the Magpies’ campaign last term, as the pair provided the quality and fight required to guide Newcastle to their impressive tenth place finish in the Premier League.

However, Benitez will be aware that mounting another strong challenge in the top flight next season will prove even more difficult, and that his side must be strengthened this summer to ensure he has a team capable of competing both in the league and in cup competitions.

Signing a player of Sturaro’s quality, experience and winning mentality, having been part of the Juventus side which has won the Serie A title for the last three years, would be a significant step in the right direction for Benitez’s men ahead of another tough campaign which will demand improvement from the Magpies if they are to build on last season’s success.