Popular Newcastle United defender could be sacrificed to fund backline rebuild as Dutch target talks about move

Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce is looking to oversee a central defensive revamp this summer with three key players at risk of the transfer window chop.

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.

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Uncertainty remains over the future of both Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez with both heading into the final days of their contract at United.

Vitesse's Dutch defender Danilho Doekhi (L) heads the ball during the Dutch Eredivisie football match between Vitesse Arnhem and PSV in the Gelredome stadium, on October 25, 2020 in Arnhem.

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.

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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.

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“Interest, in me? I still have a contract for next year”, Doekhi told Dutch broadcaster RTV Rijnmond.

“We’re going to see how things are progressing but nothing is going on for the time being.”

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He continued: “I’ve read it [that a move to Feyenoord is not a step forward] and there is of course a grain of truth in it, if you look at the standings.

“But Feyenoord are a big club hey, so you don’t know.”

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Meanwhile, Newcastle United summer transfer target Kyle Joseph has been called up to the Scotland Under-21 squad for next week's friendly double header against Northern Ireland.

The Wigan Athletic frontman, who could make the switch to St James’ Park this summer, will be in their young Scots’ squad for the games at Dumbarton on Wednesday, June 2 and Saturday, June 5.

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