By support

25th Apr, 2017 | 6:36pm

Benitez reported top transfer target refuses to rule out summer move to Newcastle

By Matt Bullin

Newcastle target Ryan Shawcross has refused to rule out a potential move to the Toon this summer amid interest from Rafa Benitez.

Newcastle won promotion back into the Premier League last night, as a 4-1 win over Preston secured their top-two finish.

Ayoze Perez netted a double, while Christian Atsu and Matt Richie also scored to wrap up a vital three points for the Toon.

The Independent had previously reported that Newcastle would make the Stoke captain their number one transfer target should they win promotion to the Premier League.

Shawcross has added fuel to the rumour now by admitting he is not moving to Newcastle – yet.

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Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel, the 29-year-old said: “I’m not going to Newcastle, at the moment.

“It’s paper talk,” he said. “I’ve got a year left on my contract and any time a player comes to the later stages of his contract there’s going to be talk.

“All I can do is concentrate on Stoke and hopefully play well. I can only stay where my contract ties me to and as long as there’s a contract I will stay.”

The one-time England international did also admit that contract talks between him and Stoke had not yet been opened, as he enters the final year of his contract.

Football Insider verdict

Shawcross is a vastly experienced Premier League defender, and he has silenced critics of his style on a number of occasions already in his career. If Newcastle are to remain in the top flight past next season, signings like Shawcross are crucial. Not only does he know the league, but he would provide great leadership to an often shaky back line. If Benitez can pull off the signing it would be a major coup, especially given it might be at a cut-price deal given his current contract situation.

In other Newcastle transfer news, Mitrovic has shared some good news about his future at the Toon.

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