By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes

Steven Taylor is set to end his long association with Newcastle this summer, Football Insider sources understand.

The 30-year-old defender is out of contract at the end of June and has not been offered a new deal by the club, with there no prospect of that happening.

A well-placed source has told Football Insider that Taylor will leave St James’ Park regardless of whether the club retain their top-flight status.

The Magpies academy graduate has started three of Newcastle’s four matches still Rafael Benitez took over but he was hauled off at half-time in last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Southampton after a wretched display.

Benitez is expected to drop Taylor from the starting X1 for this weekend’s clash against Swansea in favour of Jamaal Lascelles, who replaced the Geordie at St Mary’s Stadium.

Newcastle’s defence has been branded the worst in Premier League history by Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas, while former Sunderland midfielder Don Hutchison branded Taylor one of the four principal flops in the team.

“I’m sorry to say it but Steven Taylor isn’t up to it at Premier League level for me,” said Hutchison. “He is not good enough.

“I looked at him on Saturday and I thought he looked overweight for the division he’s playing in. He looked slow and ponderous and it’ll be very interesting to see who comes in for him in the summer. I’d be surprised if a Premier League side does.”

In other Newcastle news, senior players have been labelled “embarrassing” for their displays this season.

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