By Alex Stevens

Newcastle are on high alert as Manchester United prepare to offload defender Paddy McNair, according to a report.

The north-east giants remain in the market for a centre-back as they step up plans to strengthen their squad ahead of the start of the Championship campaign.

The Daily Star claim Newcastle are keen on signing McNair along with their north-east rivals Sunderland.

It is said that McNair has been told by United he will be sent out on loan in the upcoming season to give him regular first-team action.

The centre-half, 21, was in the Northern Ireland squad at Euro 2016 and has demonstrated his versatility by excelling in a defensive midfield role for his country, while he has also played at right-back and centre-back for his club.

Newcastle have signed six players in this summer’s window but only one of them, right-back Jesus Gamez, is a defender, although the versatile Isaac Hayden can slot in at centre-back in addition to his new midfield enforcer position.

In other Newcastle transfer news, the club are in the market to sign three more attacking players.