Date: 29th December 2005 at 12:27pm
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Real Madrid look set to prise unsettled Spanish forward Albert Luque from Newcastle in January with a cash-plus Thomas Gravesen offer.

Luque arrived at St James’ Park from Deportivo La Coruna for a bumper £9.5million fee in the summer – but has found life away from Spain hard and been plagued by a string of injuries.

The 27-year-old has made it known he is missing the Spanish league and finds the Premiership too physical for his liking, and despite Fat Fred insisting the player is ‘going nowhere’, our insider from St James’ Park begs to differ.

Luque can play in two positions, on the left wing or striker. But he is behind Alan Shearer and Michael Owen in the attacking pecking order, and youngster Charles N’Zogbia and (amazingly) Shola Ameobi have kept him on the bench in recent matches.

Real are well aware the player is strugging in the English game, and are set to make an offer of around £7million-plus Gravesen when the transfer window reopens. They are looking for home-grown talent, not foreigners, as they try and pull back a daunting 11 points from champions Barcelona.

Souness may be tempted by the cash – and rumours that Amdy Faye and Lee Bowyer are set to leave – who’s to say he won’t be tempted by Gravesen as well.