Newcastle have made contact with Luca Cardirola according to Sky Sports in Germany.

The claim that Newcastle are one of two Premier League clubs, along with Stoke City, who have approached the defender with a view to a summer move.

The 26 year old centre-back can also play left-back and a major positive is that he is out of contract at the end of June and so won’t carry a fee.

Rafa Benitez actually had Cardirola at Inter Milan during the Manager’s short spell at the club, Rafa arriving in June 2010 and loaning out the then 19 year old player to Vitesse Arnhem for the season – Rafa Benitez sacked in the December and so long gone by the time the defender returned.

Luca Cardirola has had a nightmare final season at Werder Bremen, out with ligament damage for most of the season he was back training earlier this year and made a couple of reserve team appearances before breaking back into the first team with five Bundesliga starts. Only for that to be brought to an abrupt halt when he broke a bone in his foot and is now out injured again.

With Newcastle needing squad strengthening in just about every positioning, a versatile 26 year old who is out of contract could tick a few boxes if Rafa thinks Luca Cardirola could hack it in England.

After starting his career at Inter Milan and becoming an Under 21 regular for Italy, Cardirola found himself out on loan at Brescia in the Italian second tier and then also playing in Serie B with Cesena.

His big move came when Werder Bremen paid £2m to take him to Germany in summer 2013 and he played 33 times in the league during his first season.

However, injuries and at times indifferent form have meant opportunities were more limited and after only five starts the following season in the league (on the bench unused 17 times), he went out on loan last season to Darmstadt.

Luca Cardirola was back to form and played every single minute of their league season, helping the minnows to retain their Bundesliga status by two points (this season Darmstadt are rock bottom and already relegated).

Maybe one of the more interesting rumours so far, especially when he is a player who has proved capable in the Bundesliga and wouldn’t carry a transfer fee.