By Wayne Veysey

2nd Mar, 2016 | 4:23pm

Newcastle ready to rival Liverpool and Tottenham for 22-year-old defender

By North-east correspondent Harry Sykes

Newcastle have made an approach for Lyon defender Samuel Umtiti ahead of a possible summer swoop, according to the player’s agent.

The 22-year-old Frenchman is highly regarded in France and has been a mainstay of the Lyon back line this season.

Umtiti, who is primarily a centre-back but can also cover at left-back, has been closely trailed by a number of Premier League clubs over the last two season.

A source close to the situation has told Football Insider that Liverpool and Tottenham are among the clubs who are monitoring the player, who has won seven caps for France Under-21s.

Umtiti’s brother, who also doubles up as his agent, has confirmed that there’s been contact with Newcastle over a move to the north-east this summer.

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“I was contacted in recent weeks by English agents who discussed the idea of Newcastle,” Yannick Umtiti told French publication Foot 01. “But honestly, not a single concrete offer has been made at this point by an English club.

“We would consider if necessary an offer from Newcastle and the interest of clubs who will eventually position themselves this summer.”