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Newcastle United target Stoke defender

Newcastle United target Stoke defender

Shawcross wanted by Newcastle

Football Transfer Centre

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez has reportedly earmarked Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross as his prime target ahead of this summer's transfer window.

The Magpies are destined for a top-flight next season after bridging an 11 point gap over third-placed Huddersfield Town, who have an extra game to pay.

With automatic promotion likely to be confirmed in the next week, the Tyneside have begun to sort out their plans for the coming transfer window, The Independent reports.

Shawcross has been a consistent performer for the Potters over the years, but his contract situation is something the Magpies are looking to take advantage of during the off-season.

The 29-year-old will be entering the final year of his Potters deal in the summer, and talks over an extension are yet to progress despite his importance in the squad.

Benitez is understood to want Shawcross to partner one of Ciaran Clark or Jamaal Lascelles next season as he plans to keep the club clear of relegation on their potential top-flight return.