Newcastle eye cut-price deal for Sporting Lisbon's Ruben Semedo

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez
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Newcastle United are understood to be readying a £13million bid for Sporting Lisbon's Ruben Semedo.

Reports in Portugal suggest the Magpies could make a move for the central defender this summer as Rafa Benitez eyes a complete overhaul of his Championship winning squad ahead of their return to the Premier League.

Sporting are said to value Semedo, who is rated as one of the country's leading prospects, at £18million, but Portuguese news outlet O Jogo states that United will test their resolve with an offer lower than that.

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Although, United's offer is set to be a considerable increase on the £6.9million bid that Sporting knocked back from French side Lyon this week.

Benitez has eyes on adding a number of defensive recruits to his ranks this summer, with central players right at the top of the list of priorities.

While he is keen to bring Premier League experience in, with the likes of Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross, Leicester City's Wes Morgan and Manchester city flop Eliaquim Mangala linked in recent weeks, Benitez could also look to bolster with youth.

At 23, Semedo, who can also play central midfield, has his better years ahead of him and would be seen as a long-term solution to what has been a problematic position for United over the years.

Scotland international Grant Hanley is expected to leave St James's Park this summer, with Derby County leading the race to sign the £5million rated central defender.

The future of Chancel Mbemba is also up in the air.

Despite a resurgence late on in the campaign as the Magpies stormed to the title from seven points behind with three games to play, Mbemba was not seen as part of Benitez's plans.

Some ill-disciplined performances at the start of the campaign seemed to convince the manager that the French-speaking DR Congo international was not right for his United XI.

Outside of that, though, star man Ciaran Clark, a snip of a purchase at £5million from Aston Villa last summer, formed a decent partnership with skipper Jamaal Lascelles, as the Magpies conceded just 40 goals in 46 second tier matches.

According to the Portuguese newspaper Semedo favours a move to England over France, expressing a reluctance to swap top flight football in his homeland for Ligue 1.

Instead, he wants a move to the Premier League this summer, with Newcastle set to be rivalled by Everton and Southampton for the towering former Vitoria Setubal loanee.

Andrea Ranocchia could also be an option for United and Benitez.

The Inter Milan loanee was one of the better performers for Hull City during a loan spell at the KCOM Stadium last year, but could not prevent them being relegated to the Championship.

Meanwhile, it has been rumoured that Hellas Verona could play a friendly at St James's Park this summer.

The Serie A outfit are managed by ex-Newcastle coach, and Benitez general, Fabio Pecchia.