Newcastle Interested in Swoop for Italian Defender to Replace Chancel Mbemba at St James’ Park

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Newcastle United have kicked off their summer recruitment drive at a fast pace following their highly impressive tenth place finish in the Premier League last season.

Rafa Benitez’s side have moved quickly to secure the permanent services of goalkeeper Martin Dubravka for £4m, following a highly impressive loan spell at St James’ Park.

Reports in Italy cited by the Newcastle Chronicle now claim that the Magpies are looking to strengthen their defensive ranks, with Chancel Mbemba set to be moved on from Tyneside.

According to the report, Sassuolo defender Gian Marco Ferrari has been lined up as a replacement for the DR Congo international.

The 26-year-old would provide fresh competition for the likes of captain Jamaal Lascelles and Florian Lejeune, who together formed an impressive partnership and the solid foundations for Newcastle’s strong Premier League campaign last term, as well as Ciaran Clark in the Magpies’ defensive ranks.

Mbemba has been cut somewhat adrift of first team contention under Benitez, having featured just nine times during Newcastle’s return campaign in the Premier League. It seems highly likely that the centre back does not have a future at St James’ Park and is almost certain to be moved on this summer.

Ferrari spent last season on loan at Sampdoria, making 30 appearances for the Italian side in Serie A, and they have a buyout option in his loan agreement which enables them to make the move permanent for £11.2m.

It means that Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle transfer team may have to move swiftly if they are to snare the services of Ferrari from under the noses of Sampdoria.

The Premier League side may have the advantage of financial superiority in any competition for the defender, with Sampdoria apparently trying to reduce the reported purchase fee in their agreement with Sassuolo. Newcastle, meanwhile, would have little trouble producing such an amount.  

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