Newcastle eyeing up 6ft. 4” defensive rock as Hanley deal hopes fade

Newcastle are keen on Hellas Verona’s Filip Helander with their hopes of signing Grant Hanley from Blackburn fading, according to reports from GazzaMercato.

The Magpies suffered relegation to the Championship last term and are set for a huge rebuild after convincing Rafa Benitez to stay on as manager.

With veteran defenders Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini both offloaded, at least one new centre-back is needed if the Magpies are to put up a convincing promotion push, and Blackburn’s Hanley has been mooted as their main target in recent weeks.

However, their hopes of landing the Riversiders’ captain have been dealt a massive blow after the Lancashire side rebuffed a £4.5m offer from Tyneside, and reports now claim that Helander is an option.

The 23-year-old Swede, who has represented his nation at U-21 level, only joined Hellas Verona from Malmo in his homeland ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.

Although he performed well in Serie A, the 6ft. 4” defender was unable to steer his club clear of relegation – they finished rock-bottom of the division, 11 points adrift of safety.

As well as Helander, Fulham’s Fernando Amorebieta has also been mooted as a target.