Newcastle are chasing the signature of Felip Helander according to media claims on Sunday.

The 23 year old central defender is set to leave Hellas Verona after only one season, due to their relegation to Serie B.

Felip Helander only moved to Italy last summer and signed a four year contract, Malmo banked 1m euros for the defender who had helped them to win two Swedish league titles..

The Gazzetta dello Sport say that Newcastle have shown ‘serious interest’ but warn that other clubs have also been watching the 6ft 4 centre-back, including Sunderland.

Helander made 24 Serie A appearances for Hellas Verona (now managed by former Rafa assistant Fabio Pecchia) last season and scored two goals, though that wasn’t enough to help prevent them finishing rock bottom and being relegated.

The Italian side conceded 63 goals in 38 matches, only two other clubs conceded more in the Italian top flight.

With three years still remaining on the left-footed defender’s contract, Hellas Verona are in a strong position on any transfer deal but it remains to be seen whether Newcastle are going to recruit a fourth centre-back after Grant Hanley’s arrival.

Felip Helander was a squad member for five of Sweden’s European Championship qualifiers but wasn’t included in the squad that competed in France this summer.

Chancel Mbemba missed yesterday’s friendly due to an ankle injury, with reports claiming his absence was only a ‘precaution’. Hopefully this is correct and Mbemba hasn’t aggravated the ankle injury that caused him to miss 9 weeks of last season, after being forced off at Everton during the 3-0 defeat.