Dundee United are trying to bring a highly-rated young Newcastle United midfielder to Tannadice, according to sources in Tyneside.
But their reported attempt to secure a one-year loan deal for teenager Sean Longstaff has been knocked back.
New United boss Ray McKinnon is exploring a number of options as he seeks to rebuild a squad that has been broken up after last season’s relegation from the Premiership.
Stewart Murdoch became his first signing a few days ago and others are expected over the next couple of weeks.
It is understood that Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez wants box-to-box midfielder Longstaff (18) to gain first team experience as the next part of his career development, but such has been the impression that he has made in the reserve and youth teams, the Spaniard wants to take a closer look at Longstaff in pre-season training and possibly even pre-season games.
Benitez may still decide that Longstaff should indeed head out on loan, so United could yet have a chance of bringing him to Tayside.
Longstaff hit double figures for goals in the 2014/15 season for the reserves and academy sides and made a big impression in the recent Hong Kong Football Club Citi Soccer Sevens.
Former United youth coach Ian Cathro is on the staff at Newcastle, and he and McKinnon know each other well.