Florian Lejeune leaves Newcastle United to join La Liga club
VITORIA-GASTEIZ, SPAIN - OCTOBER 31: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona duels for the ball with Florian Lejeune of Deportivo Alaves during the La Liga Santander match between Deportivo Alavés and FC Barcelona at Estadio de Mendizorroza on October 31, 2020 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Florian Lejeune has made his move to Deportivo Alaves a permanent one, after spending last season there on loan, making 36 appearances.

This deal brings an end to Lejeune's four-year stay at Newcastle after the club paid £8.7 million for him back in 2017 from Eibar

After Newcastle’s 1-0 pre-season defeat to York City last week at the LNER Community Stadium, head coach Steve Bruce confirmed the transfer news. 

"Florian is on his way to Spain," said Bruce. 

"It looks as if something is going to happen there. It will put a few quid in the coffers.

"He is going back to Alaves where he was on loan and there is something imminent."

Lejeune made 46 appearances for the Magpies in total, with the significant portion of his career at St James' Park spent on the treatment table recovering from an ACL injury.

The Frenchman will be remembered fondly by fans for his heroics from the bench when he came on in the 70th minute and scored two injury-time goals to secure a point at Everton in January 2020.

What does this mean for Newcastle?

Much of the same is happening in the North-East. Lejeune didn’t feature for Newcastle last year despite a massive injury crisis, including half of the centre-backs in the squad contracting coronavirus. Lejeune was mentioned as an afterthought never in serious contention.

It was thought that with the money netted for the Frenchman, that the club would make their move for Kristoffer Ajer.

But, the defender joined newly promoted Brentford earlier this week for a club-record £13 million.

Lejeune's gap in the squad ready to be filled?

With pre-season happening, it is an opportunity for fans to see what could be in the upcoming season.

In the pre-season defeat to York City, one of the bright sparks was Kell Watts. The youngster played 90 in two different positions.

Watts spent all of last season on loan at Plymouth Argyle, becoming a staple in the league one side. Plymouth themselves had a chance to progress into the Championship, but with only two wins out, the last fifteen games prevented that.

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Watts was a bright spark in the lacklustre Newcastle side at York. Without higher level experience under the 21 year-old’s belt, it would be difficult to break into the side without stand out performances.

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