Newcastle United carved an immediate return back to the English top division under the stewardship of Rafael Benitez as they clinched the Championship silverware and an automatic promotion spot. The Magpies leapfrogged Brighton & Hove Albion right at the finish and they appeared to be a side which deserved to ply their trade amongst the elite clubs in the country.
To withstand the animosity of the Premier League and to ensure they refrain from getting into the relegation dogfight, strengthening their backline is a must for Benitez, and the former Napoli boss is taking the right steps.
If the latest reports are to be believed, the Magpies have put La Liga outfit Eibar’s resilient centre-back, Florian Lejeune on their wish-list for the summer transfer window.
Lejeune is a fine defender and proved to be a decent signing for Eibar, as he emerged as one of the best defenders from the Spanish top flight of late. The Frenchman is strong, well-built and showed immense maturity last term with the way he injected solidity into the defence of the Spanish side.
Having proved himself, it is about time for his to venture into new endeavours, and it goes without saying that Premier League should be appealing enough to make a move to St. James’ Park. He would need to up the ante to cement his spot in Benitez’s starting line-up on a regular basis, though.
Last term, Lejeune managed 34 appearances to his name and banged in 1 goal as well as 1 assist. Defensively speaking, the former Manchester City defender mustered 1.3 tackles, 2.1 interceptions, 5.6 clearances and 0.6 blocks per game on an average and no wonder his stocks have risen so high.
He is a centre-back who does the basics right, doesn’t lose possession and maintains his cool in the tight circumstances which makes him an appealing prospect.
The 26-year-old clears the ball out of imminent dangers in a stupendous manner, gets into intense physical battles, likes to play long balls and the experience he possesses will add to the quality of the Toons’ backline.
Lejeune was one of the reasons why Eibar finished 10th in the League table last term and considering that Newcastle United would want to register a productive season, someone like him would definitely help them to meet their needs. For a fee of £8.7m, he could turn out to be a shrewd transfer if he can hit the ground running and be a long-term part of the side.
Statistics Credits: Whoscored