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Newcastle United are in talks with Freiburg over the potential signing of £22 million Germany international Robin Koch, according to Record.

While the ‘Fabian Schar in midfield’ experiment blew up in Steve Bruce’s face, perhaps the problem was not with the idea itself but the man charged with making it work.

With Newcastle apparently intent on bringing Koch to St James’ Park, it is surely no coincidence that he, like Schar, is another classy, technically-gifted central defender with the raw talent to thrive in a more advanced role.

If EVERY Season Had A Champions League Play-Off

If EVERY Season Had A Champions League Play-Off

It seems that Bruce wants a man capable of playing in numerous positions and the 6ft 3ins former Kaiserslautern youngster certainly fits the bill.

12 of his 32 Bundesliga appearances came in a new-look midfield role and, with an 83 per cent pass completion rate, Koch made the transition look rather straightforward.

With his contract due to expire in 2021, Freiburg, they look set to lose not only their best defender but also one of their most influential midfielders in the very same summer.

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“It’s no secret that Robin would like to take the next step,” sporting director Klemens Hartenbach told Transfermarkt recently, suggesting that Koch has played his final Bundesliga game under veteran Freiburg coach Christian Streich.

Tottenham reportedly want this ‘warrior‘ of a defender to replace the departed Jan Vertonghen in north London (Sun, 22 June, page 64).

But, according to Record, it is Newcastle who are battling Portuguese giants Benfica for his signature this week.

The Magpies are apparently in talks with Freiburg, although it remains to be seen if the lure of Premier League football will convince Koch to turn down the prospect of European football and silverware in Lisbon.

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