By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes
Defensive duo Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini are set to end their long associations with Newcastle this summer, Football Insider sources understand.
Taylor, 30, 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.
Coloccini, 34, has one more year remaining on the contract he signed last summer but has been sidelined through injury since February after suffering a series of setbacks.
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.
It is unlikely that club captain Coloccini will play again this season and he does not fit in to Newcastle’s future plans as Benitez is looking to build the defence around younger players.
There is a growing possibility Newcastle and the Argentine, who has been at the club for eight years, could agree a severance package to end his contract 12 months early.
Magpies academy graduate Taylor started three of Newcastle’s first four matches under Benitez but he has not figured since being off at half-time in the 3-1 defeat to Southampton after a wretched display.
Taylor has not even been named in the matchday 18 for the matches against Liverpool, Manchester City and Swansea, with Jamaal Lascelles, Chancel Mbemba and Kevin Mbabu all ahead of him in the pecking order.
Newcastle’s defence with Taylor in it had 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 earlier this month. “He is not good enough.
“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, Moussa Sissoko has expressed his delight at the team’s transformation in the last three games.
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