Florian Lejeune is now looking very close to joining Newcastle United.
La Liga minnow Eibar say that they are powerless to stop the player moving to Tyneside, with Newcastle set to double the central defender’s wages.
The club’s Director of Football, Fran Garagarza, says ‘I see it as difficult for us to keep Florian Lejeune…Newcastle are taking very strong steps’.
A 10m euros (approx £8.8m) buyout clause was inserted in his contract when moving from Manchester City last summer and a profit of over £7m on a player they paid only £1m for a year ago, isn’t a disaster for Eibar.
With the Spanish TV deal paying a relative pittance to all but the top clubs in La Liga, Newcastle doubling the player’s wages is easy for the Magpies.
There has been ongoing reporting of the player’s imminent move to Newcastle, both in the English and Spanish media, and it looks very likely that Lejeune will now follow Christian Atsu through the door as Rafa’s second signing of the summer.
Director of Football Fran Garagarza speaking to Marca:
“I am not very optimistic.
“I see it as difficult for us to keep Florian Lejeune.
“We are worried that Newcastle are taking very strong steps.”
Florian Lejeune joined Manchester City in 2015 but was then immediately loaned back to Spanish second tier club Girona and didn’t make a single appearance for the Manchester club..
The French central defender can also play defensive midfield and has recently been linked with Arsenal and Tottenham after making a permanent move to La Liga side Eibar last summer, helping them to a very credible 10th place in the league.
Florian Lejeune signed a four year deal for Eibar last summer but now looks set to move on.
An uncompromising 6ft 3 centre-back, Lejeune picks up a few goals for a defender, scoring nine in the league over the course of the past three seasons. However, he also has a pretty bad disciplinary record, having managed to pick up 11 suspensions in the past four years.
Over the course of 2014/15 and 2015/16 he picked up a remarkable 30 bookings and two red cards in club football, last season though he moderated that a little and had just one sending off and seven yellows.
It looks beyond doubt that Rafa Benitez is going to have another very busy summer, replicating what happened 12 months ago.
Rafa having put together a squad with the specific aim of getting out of the Championship and now recognising that he needs to make major changes to help prepare for the Premier League.