Newcastle United could rekindle interest in January target as centre-half becomes key summer battleground

Newcastle United are keen for a summer central defensive reboot with their quest to recruit in this department a key transfer window battleground.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 5:00 am

Last summer the Magpies had earmarked at least one new centre-half and in the end saw their best laid plans thrown out the window by Mikel Arteta’s decision to keep Steve Bruce target Rob Holding.

This summer, United are again expected to be busy in this area, with the futures of three key defenders remaining uncertain.

Federico Fernandez is a player whose future is yet to be decided with the veteran out of contract and seeking probably his last big deal in football. The Argentine will be 33 before the 2021/22 season ends.

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Newcastle United's Brazilian striker Joelinton (L) vies with Liverpool's Turkish defender Ozan Kabak during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2021.

Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune are two others who could well depart, with the latter looking the most likely of the two.

Switzerland international Schar is also out of contract this summer but a year-long extension clause is set to be activated, much like it was for Fernandez last summer. This, however, does not mean the player will remain on Tyneside.

Interest from Italy in Schar is strong, with AS Roma, now under new management of course, keen in the January window. And with the Magpies ultimately failing in their winter window attempts to land Schalke’s Ozan Kabak, Schar remained at St James’ Park when he looked to be heading out the exit door.

In the closing days of the window, United thought they’d signed the Turkish international, only for Liverpool to gazump them late on.

This is a deal United could well revisit, with Jurgen Klopp unlikely to pursue a permanent move for the player, who was rated by his club in the £18million bracket. This is likely to be significantly reduced due to Schalke’s relegation from the Bundesliga.

Lejeune’s future is probably the most precarious of all, with any offer for the Frenchman, who has spent the last season on loan at La Liga outfit Alaves, likely to be accepted.

Recent reports have seen Newcastle linked with Tosin Adarabioyo, one of the standouts for relegated Fulham this campaign, with his height and speed seen as key characteristics in the type of player United are looking to recruit to complement the likes of Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett.

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