By Harvey Byrne
Rafa Benitez has made Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross Newcastle’s summer priority, according to a report.
The Independent has claimed that the Spaniard wants an overhaul of his Magpies squad with at least six new faces coming in.
It is detailed that the former Liverpool man wants a strong reliable centre-back to build around and he has identified Shawcross as the perfect man.
The 29-year-old has been with the Midlands club for 10 years now after joining Stoke from Manchester United in an initial loan move in 2007 before the Potters signed him permanently just five months later in a £1million deal.
He has since played in 376 matches for Stoke and earned one-cap for England.
Shawcross is also still playing regularly for Mark Hughes’ team this season and as mentioned he is the captain of the team.
However, this summer he will enter the final year of his contract at the club and it is said to have given Benitez encouragement that he could tempt him to St. James’ Park.
The Toon are currently sat in second in the Championship with five matches of the season left and they may now be already planning for the next campaign.
Football Insider verdict:
Shawcross would be a very smart signing for Newcastle this summer. His performances have been on a severe decline over the past year and he is far from the player he once was, but he does possess vast Premier League experience which is somewhat invaluable. Additionally, Shawcross is of the mentality that he will put his body on the line and that will win the hearts of a lot of Magpies fans early on. Newcastle are unlikely to attract a player of better quality than Shawcross this summer and he should be a serious consideration for the club this window.
In other Newcastle transfer news, the Magpies have also been tipped to sign this Premier League left-back.