Three Championship centre-backs Newcastle United should target

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez

Magpies boss Rafa Benitez is keen to add to his back line, a report claims.

Newcastle manager Rafael BenitezBenitez knows what he needs this summer

Rafa Benitez wants a new centre-back at Newcastle United this summer, the Chronicle reported on Wednesday.

In fairness, that's not exactly groundbreaking stuff: The Magpies are releasing Steven Taylor, while Fabricio Coloccini is begging a return to Argentina.

QPR's Steven Caulker, Brighton's Lewis Dunk and Middlesbrough's Daniel Ayala have all been linked in recent weeks, however, A) finances and B) their own clubs' ambitions, make the latter pair ambitious targets.

Instead, here's three potentially more attainable options:

3) Tom Lees

Tom Lees of Sheffield WednesdayLees: Leeds United's loss was Wednesday's gain

Since Lees' arrival at Sheffield Wednesday two summers ago, the Owls have kept more Championship clean sheets (34) than any other club bar Derby (36) and Middlesbrough (43). The former England Under-21 international, now 25, was instrumental in Wednesday's passage to last season's play-off final - not to mention the cup wins against Arsenal and, of course, Newcastle - and could, therefore, be tough to prise away.

2) Aden Flint

Aden Flint of Bristol City in action with Tom Huddlestone of Hull CityFlint: A terrifying prospect at both ends

Standing at roughly 6ft 6in tall, Flint is exactly the kind of no-compromise centre-back a Championship title-winning side requires. Not only that, the 26-year-old is a regular contributor at the other end, where he's scored 24 goals in 147 appearances for Bristol City - a similar ratio to Ayoze Perez last season (six in 37). In light of these, the ambitious Robins, like Wednesday, are likely to resist any offers.

1) Shane Duffy

Blackburn's Shane Duffy with the goal of the season award before the matchBlackburn's Duffy was a surprise goal of the season winner

After years on the periphery of Everton's first team, Duffy finally fled the Goodison Park nest in 2014, in favour of a move to Blackburn Rovers. Despite a 15th-place finish last term, the Lancastrians possessed the second tightest defence of any club outside the top six - a statistic which has seen the Republic of Ireland international linked with a move to Sunderland in recent months.

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