Newcastle are hopeful of concluding a loan deal for Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe, who could become their first signing of the summer in the days ahead.
The Magpies are hoping to strengthen their squad this summer, but with the infamously frugal Mike Ashley still at the helm, they don't have much of a budget to work with. Joe Willock, who impressed on loan at St James' Park last season, remains the main priority, with Steve Bruce admitting he has been on the phone to Arsenal all throughout the summer to try and bring him back.
Negotiations are taking their time, however, and with the start of the Premier League season less than two weeks away, Newcastle can't afford to wait until that one is over before making other signings.
Strengthening at centre-back is high on their list of priorities, and as 90min reported earlier on Monday, Axel Tuanzebe is one target they are keen to sign on loan. A new report from The Telegraph now claims that Steve Bruce is actively pushing for the deal to go ahead - and it could even be tied up before Willock's situation is resolved.
Tuanzebe's situation is directly related to the imminent arrival of Raphael Varane at Old Trafford, who will go straight into the starting XI and push United's current supporting cast of centre-backs further down the pecking order.
Sources have told 90min that United are willing to get rid of two central defenders to make room, and Tuanzebe and Phil Jones are the two favourites to be sacrificed. Newcastle are also interested in Jones and would be keen on a free transfer, but currently see a loan deal for Tuanzebe as the more preferable option.
Tuanzebe managed 19 appearances for United last season, which was an improvement on ten from the season before. But Varane's arrival means they now have an established centre-back pairing that will start most games, while Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly will also expect to be ahead of him in the pecking order.