£8.7 million-rated Eibar defender Florian Lejeune is just one defender linked with Newcastle
It is clear that signing a new centre-back is at the top of Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez’s to-do list this summer. From long-serving Premier League veterans such as Ryan Shawcross to continental imports a la Florian Lejeune, defenders of all size and stature have been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light.
And with interest reportedly ramping up for 19-year-old Lens starlet Jean-Kevin Duverne, you wonder whether Newcastle may add him to their shortlist.
However, Celtic have now emerged as the apparent frontrunners for an immensely talented, homegrown centre-back who, just like current France international and Real Madrid regular Raphael Varane, has honed his trade in Lens’ academy.
France's Raphael Varane
The new Varane?
Duverne is most definitely a typical Celtic signing with the club renowned for its ability to identify young, under-the-radar talents before developing them at Glasgow and selling them on for a substantial profit.
If Duverne did choose Celtic this summer, it’s highly likely he would follow in the footsteps of Victor Wanyama, Virgil van Dijk and co by making a big-money move to the Premier League a few years in the future.
Two years after leaving Celtic, Virgil van Dijk is reportedly valued at £60m
However, you wonder whether he could instead cut out the middle man and head directly to Newcastle. Like Celtic, owner Mike Ashley prefers to sign low and sell high.
Yet, after spending the 2016/17 season in the French second tier, it is difficult to tell whether Duverne is ready to make the step up to the Premier League. The risk, however, could reap plentiful rewards.