Newcastle United defender Ciaran Clark must tell manager Rafa Benitez that he wants to quit St James’ Park in the summer after being axed from the first-team.

Clark, 28, should follow Mikel Merino’s lead in asking to quit the Magpies after TeamTalk reported that the Spanish fan favourite told Benitez that he would like to leave in the summer transfer window as he has dropped down the pecking order and is attracting interest from Athletic Bilbao.

The Republic of Ireland international has not played for Newcastle in over two months and it seems that there will be no way back into the side for him this season unless Florian Lejeune or Jamaal Lascelles suffer an injury.

Since Clarke was dropped, the North-East club has won three of their five games, keeping clean sheets every time they have picked up three points.

Clarke cost the Magpies £5million when he signed from Aston Villa in 2016 and there’s a good chance that the senior player would be able to fetch the St James’ Park club a similar amount this summer considering he helped them win the Championship title last term.

However it is definitely time that the senior player moves on from Newcastle as he is at the peak of his career and needs to be playing first-team football every week.

There is bound to be a newly promoted team interested in signing him, or a high-end Championship club who could use the Irishman to help lead a charge for promotion.

Either way Clarke must try to leave St James’ Park in the summer.

In other Newcastle United news, fans slammed this one player for his “horrific” performance in the win against Huddersfield.

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