Mohamed Diame closes in on Newcastle switch: Toon to finalise two deals within 24 hours

The French international, however, is almost certain to leave the Magpies this month and club officials remain confident that Spanish giants Real Madrid will meet their whopping £35m valuation.

Benitez is set to hand debuts to several of his close-season signings at Craven Cottage including Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie and Isaac Hayden.

And Belgian keeper Matz Sels, is expected to start in goal ahead of Karl Darlow following his move from Gent.

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