By Will Butcher

Massimo Haidara could be set to leave Newcastle amid interest from a top-tier French side, according to a report.

The 23-year-old left-back is yet to kick a ball under manager Rafa Benitez, after picking up a long-term knee problem in November 2015 which limited him to just eight appearances in all competitions last season.

The Evening Chronicle have now claimed that a return to the top flight of French football could be on the cards, after the defender joined the Magpies three years ago.

Haidara has made just 48 appearances in all competitions on Tyneside since his £2million move from France, failing to hold down a regular place in the first-team.

The former France under-21 international will find himself behind Wales international Paul Dummett, and potential new signing Brendan Galloway.

The Everton youngster is close to a season-long loan move, according to The Chronicle chief sports writer Lee Ryder.

Newcastle’s number 19 has two years remaining on the five-year deal he signed in 2013, after impressing in Ligue 1 for Nancy who have just gained promotion back to the top-flight.

Making his debut at just 18, Haidara went on to make 51 league and cup appearances in two and a half years before moving to Tyneside.

Benitez has been busy this summer, bringing in no less than eight new faces to St James’ Park as he orchestrates a revamp of the squad.

They include Premier League stars Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and Mohamed Diame, while Ciaran Clark, Jesus Gamez, Isaac Hayden, Matz Sels and Grant Hanley have also joined.

In other Newcastle transfer news, this Switzerland youth international could be set to move on-loan to a Championship rival.