By Matt Farr

Ex-Stoke City boss Lou Macari does not believe Ryan Shawcross will quit the club to join Newcastle this summer.

The Independent reported a week ago that Rafa Benitez had made the 29-year-old a top priority if the club gained promotion to the Premier League ahead of next season.

Shawcross has spent the majority of his senior career in the Premier League and is a proven performer at the top level, and Benitez believes he will be an excellent addition to his defensive options.

However, Macari has admitted he would be ‘amazed’ if Shawcross were to make a summer switch to Newcastle, adding he could see little ‘attraction’ to St. James’ Park at this moment in time.

He told the Stoke Sentinel: “You can never be sure in this day and age, but I’d be amazed if Ryan Shawcross lined up at the start of next season in the black and white stripes of Newcastle United.

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“Gone are the days when a good Stoke player could be lured away by the promise of a much higher wage elsewhere.

“No disrespect to Newcastle, but I can’t see the attraction of them right now if I’m Ryan Shawcross.”

Benitez made as many as 11 new additions to his Newcastle squad last summer, including five defensive reinforcements, but he is expected to make even further changes in the next transfer window.

The Independent report details that Newcastle are set to undergo a summer overhaul with another six new additions, including a strong, reliable centre-back to build his team around.

Benitez has identified Shawcross because of his vast Premier League experience, with Ciaran Clark the only defender in the current Newcastle squad with any considerable experience of playing in the top flight.

Newcastle are nearing an immediate return to the Premier League, and boast a six-point advantage over Reading in the race for automatic promotion with three games remaining.

Football Insider verdict

Newcastle have had a number of defensive concerns in recent weeks, which has seen their Championship title bid stutter. But a move for Shawcross would likely see considerable improvement. The tall defender is a powerful centre-back, vastly experienced, and has leadership qualities that could be of great value to Newcastle. The concern, as Macari suggests, is convincing him to quit a Stoke side pushing for European qualification for a newly-promoted outfit. Wages will not likely be an issue for Newcastle, and if they can convince Shawcross to move to St. James’ Park, he would be a fantastic addition.

In other Newcastle transfer news, Everton are to offer a stunning £140,000-per-week contract to blow Newcastle out the water in the race for this 27-year-old.

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