Deportivo Alaves are very keen on retaining Newcastle United defender Florian Lejeune but face a big problem in their bid to keep him in Spain, according to Noticias de Alava.

Lejeune spent the 2020/21 season with the La Liga outfit on loan but has now returned to Newcastle. Yet it could be a short-lived stay back in the North East.

The centre-half has entered the final year of his contract and the Toon are eager to cash in. Newcastle hope they will be able to sell Lejeune in the summer transfer window and are not considering another loan.

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But another loan spell may be all Alaves can offer Newcastle for Lejeune. Sporting Director Sergio Fernandez has stressed throughout the summer that the Mendizorrotza side do not have the funds available to make any financial commitments in the current market.

Fernandez’s stance has put a big barrier between the Babazorros and signing the Magpies’ £38,000-per-week defender. Alaves are pushing to have Lejeune back for next season as the Newcastle man proved to be indispensable last season.

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Lejeune started all 34 of his La Liga outings as Pablo Machin, Abelardo and Javi Calleja took stints at the Alaves helm. Calleja ended the season in charge, and was only ever without the Toon enforcer against Huesca due to him accumulating too many yellow cards.

Bruce wants Alaves target Lejeune out of Newcastle

Fernandez may have to find the funds from somewhere if Alaves are going to sign Newcastle defender Lejeune this summer. It is unlikely the Toon would consider another loan deal, as they would be accepting a total financial loss.

Newcastle paid Eibar £8.7m in 2017, and would only avoid paying the final year of Lejeune’s contract with another loan. Steve Bruce is also looking at the 30-year-old as a player who can boost the Magpies’ otherwise limited transfer budget.

The Shields Gazette note Bruce wants to sign a centre-back and is fine with Lejeune leaving to raise the funds. He impressed during his time in Spain as a formidable part of the Alaves unit. But his performances were not enough to secure a new contract at St James’ Park.