By Danny Wright
Newcastle will make defender Florian Lejeune their second signing of the summer, according to a report.
The Mirror claims that the 26-year-old will move to St. James’ Park in an £8.7million deal after his release clause at La Liga outfit Eibar was triggered.
It is understood that Rafa Benitez has more Spanish-based players on his shortlist as Newcastle prepare for life back in the Premier League following their victorious title-winning campaign in the second-tier.
Lejeune will follow Christian Atsu to the Magpies, who signed on a permanent deal in May following a successful loan stint on Tyneside.
The French centre-back was released by Manchester City last season but has hit the ground running with Eibar, making 37 appearances in all competitions and scoring one goal which came in a 3-1 win against Deportivo in January.
Lejeune might not be the only defender to join Newcastle this summer though as the Mirror also reports that Benitez wants to bring two new centre-backs to his side as he looks to strengthen the spine of his team.
It is said that the Spaniard has received good reports about the ex-Villarreal enforcer and has decided to snap him up despite being offered Elaquim Mangala from Man City.
Football Insider Verdict
Lejeune definitely seems like a late bloomer. His career has never really got going following spells with Villarreal, Girona and Man City but he really came into his own at Eibar this season as he helped them to a very impressive top-half finish when they were one of the teams tipped for relegation. £8.7million is a fairly low sum to pay for a player who is potentially at the peak of his career and it could certainly be a good buy for Benitez. Lejeune has spent a season playing against Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo so he certainly won’t shy away from going toe-to-toe with some of the Premier League big boys.
In other Newcastle news, Tim Krul has had his day on his loan spell at AZ Alkmaar.