Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has been linked with a defensive swoop – after suffering an early injury blow.
The Magpies revealed yesterday that Paul Dummett and Florian Lejeune would be out for ‘weeks, rather than months’ with the injuries they picked up in Sunday’s defeat against Tottenham Hotspur.
The news could have been worse – there were fears the pair, particularly Lejeune – could be missing for a considerable period of time after they both limped off in the first half.
But it is still a blow for Benitez who is sweating on the fitness of another defender, right-back DeAndre Yedlin.
Dummett has a hamstring strain while Lejeune is suffering from ankle ligament damage after a tackle by Spurs striker Harry Kane.
Newcastle are well placed to replace the central defender, a £8.8million summer signing, with captain Jamaal Lascelles and Chancel Mbemba both available.
Dummett’s injury is more of a concern. Benitez has told left-backs Massdaio Haidara and Achraf Lazaar that they have no future at the club, with the former almost joining French side Saint-Etienne last month, while Lazaar hasn’t been given a squad number.
However, with Dummett injured it may be that he turns to one of the pair for Sunday’s game at Huddersfield Town, or looks to play Ciaren Clark as a makeshift full-back again.
If Benitez – in charge of the transfer budget at Newcastle – decides he needs another left-back, Bristol City defender Joe Bryan has been linked with a move to St James’s Park.
However, the 23-year-old could cost around £8million with the Robins determined to keep hold of their prized asset.
Other left-back options for Benitez are right-backs Jesus Gamez and Javier Manquillo.
A club statement on the injuries picked up at the weekend said: “Newcastle United have confirmed that defenders Florian Lejeune and Paul Dummett will be out of action for a number of weeks.
“Assessments by the club’s medical staff are continuing in order to establish the full extent of their injuries but both players are expected to be out for weeks, rather than months.”