Ciaran Clark faces uncertain Newcastle United future amid Kristoffer Ajer transfer interest
According to Chronicle Live, Ciaran Clark faces an uncertain future at Newcastle United amid interest in Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer.
The St. James’ Park natives are eager to strengthen Steve Bruce’s options at centre-back in the summer transfer window. New contracts for Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez are also expected but doing so may see Clark leave.
Newcastle have to raise funds for any potential new arrival and view Clark as a sellable asset amid multi-league interest. The Republic of Ireland international has suitors in the Premier League and Championship with clubs monitoring his situation.
Clark was often a favourite option of Bruce in Newcastle’s bid for Premier League survival. However, he lost his place in the starting line-up at the start of May with right-back Emil Krafth instead favoured.
Clark’s last appearance came in defeat to Arsenal, when the 31-year-old struggled to contain Mikel Arteta’s men. He particularly would have been expected to do more to prevent Gabriel Martinelli’s cross finding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the visitors’ second.
His time at Newcastle may now be over, as the Toon strive to raise funds amid interest in Celtic’s Ajer. Clark may also not be the only player to leave St. James’ Park, with Florian Lejeune expected to be sold after a season-long loan spell with Alaves.
Reports by the Daily Record claim the Hoops want double the £8million United are likely to offer for Ajer. The 23-year-old also has suitors in newly-promoted Norwich City.
Bruce hopes to pip Norwich to the post after regularly sending scouts to Glasgow but could be out of luck. Ajer is thought to be open-minded to seeing out the last year of his contract at Parkhead.
The Norway international is assessing all of his options with his agent, as they believe a Premier League, Bundesliga or Serie A move would be possible as a free agent next year.
TBR’s view: Clark offers Newcastle something else
Clark was one of Newcastle’s more consistent performers for much of the season but fell out of favour after a drop in form. He may now feel hard done by to be shown the door, as he offers Bruce something other defenders can’t.
Clark is the only one of Newcastle’s current centre-backs who is naturally left-footed. Ajer is not, either, as the Norwegian favours his right like Schar, Fernandes and Jamaal Lascelles.
Bruce praised that part of Clark’s game when the 6 ft 2 enforcer penned a two-year contract extension in January. The deal extended his £35,000-per-week terms to 2023 and gives the Magpies scope to demand a solid transfer fee.
“I’m delighted Ciaran has signed a new deal,” Bruce told NUFC TV. “First and foremost, he is a very talented defender, and he gives us great balance as a naturally left-footed centre-half.
“He has also become a very consistent performer and I’m pleased to see his hard work and commitment rewarded.”
Yet four months on and Clark may be shown the door as Bruce looks to build on Newcastle’s difficult season, likely with a move for Ajer.
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