Time up: Newcastle must finally wave goodbye to £40k-p/w man who Rafa dubbed “crucial” – opinion

Time up: Newcastle must finally wave goodbye to £40k-p/w man who Rafa dubbed “crucial” – opinion

Newcastle should consider letting Florian Lejeune leave this summer as a major transfer update emerges on his future at St James’ Park.

What’s the story?

Writing earlier in May for The Athletic, Chris Waugh said: “With Lejeune turning 30 later this month, there has been no indication yet that Newcastle will look to extend his deal and, as things stand, perversely, he actually appears to be the most likely defender to leave. Alaves, who are fighting relegation, are keen to keep him if they survive, and both Lejeune and Bruce may feel it is best for the Frenchman to move on.”

Now, The Shields Gazette claim that the centre-back could be moved on as part of an effort to raise some much-needed funds for Steve Bruce, “with the Frenchman likely to be sold heading into the final year of his Magpies’ contract”.

He was a Rafa favourite

Praised by Waugh as someone who’s got “everything“, the journalist added: “The Frenchman, who is both comfortable in possession and an excellent reader of the game, is arguably Newcastle’s best all-round defender.”

And that belief is something that was reflected by former Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez, who was a big fan of the man he brought to St James’ Park.

In fact, speaking back in September 2018, he said: “Then, in the months after he came back, he settled down because he is strong mentally, and then he was passing the ball and giving confidence to the team and all the players around. He became a very important player for us.

“Florian has been a big miss for us in terms of what he means for us as a crucial member of the team. The style of football he brings and helps us to adapt to is something we have lost.”

The £40k-a-week earning ace’s departure would bring in some much-needed cash, especially with the recent update that Bruce could only have around £10m to work with this summer – an absolute pittance when you consider the kinds of money that get bandied about in transfer windows these days.

The Magpies would then be able to reinvest that into players who they need, perhaps even helping with putting together a package to prise Joe Willock away from Arsenal on a permanent basis.

Whatever the case, it may be the perfect time for Newcastle to wave goodbye to the centre-back this summer.

Meanwhile, Steve Bruce could create a formidable Newcastle duo by signing this “unique talent”…

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