Florian Lejeune looks set to be transfer listed this summer, according to the Shields Gazette.
The Frenchman said his goodbyes to Alaves this week following an impressive loan spell in Spain, with him set to return to Tyneside ahead of pre-season.
However, The Gazette claim he looks set to be sold to raise funds for Steve Bruce to sign ‘at least’ one new centre-back this summer, not only because his stock has risen following a solid season in La Liga, but also because he is now entering the final 12 months of his contract at the club.
The report also reveals FOUR players we have been scouting who could potentially replace the 30-year-old – Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer, QPR star Rob Dickie, Liverpool loanee Ozan Kabak and Dutch U21 international Danilho Doekhi.
As you can see via the snippet below, it’s believed Schar’s future on Tyneside is also far from certain – with The Gazette claiming he was ‘close’ to leaving in January until we had a loan bid hijacked for Kabak:
The Gazette understands Magpies scouts have been tasked with finding the club at least one central defender this summer with a number of names under consideration.
And Florian Lejeune looks set to be used to help fund any move, with the Frenchman likely to be sold heading into the final year of his Magpies’ contract.
A one-year extension clause will be activated with Schar, but the Switzerland international is far from certain to stay. Schar was close to leaving the Magpies in January with United lining up Turkey and now Liverpool defender Ozan Kabak to replace him. When the deal to land the Schalke man fell through, Schar remained on Tyneside.
While Fernandez has been locked in negotiations with the club over an extension but is yet to come to an agreement.
Lejeune, however, looks unlikely to be handed another chance on Tyneside – and after a relatively impressive season on loan at Deportivo Alaves, could well be sold to boost Steve Bruce’s limited summer budget.
The likes of Kabak, QPR’s Rob Dickie, Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer and others have been checked out, another on the list, Danilho Doekhi, has played down talk of a Vitesse exit.
Many Newcastle fans have been hoping to see Bruce given Lejeune another chance, with him earning some rave reviews in Spain and being a classy defender on his day.
That said, if we can receive a chunk of the £8.7m fee paid and replace him with a younger and slightly more mobile centre-back, it could make sense for all parties before he leaves on a free next summer.