Newcastle United have reportedly withdrawn their interest in Valenciennes defender Sikou Niakate.

Get French Football News cite Foot Mercato in reporting that a misunderstanding in the player’s proposed squad status played a key part in the deal collapsing.

The Magpies proposed the 19-year-old would initially spend time in the U-23 set-up, Niakate hoped to play a role in the first-team squad immediately.

The centre-back only made his professional debut at the beginning of last season but was a regular as his club finished 13th in Ligue 2.

Given his lack of experience in the game, it is understood the Magpies would have had to pay a nominal fee for the player, who is seen to be very much ‘one for the future’.

He has been capped at French under-19 level but has not yet scored a professional goal.

Boss Rafael Benitez is keen to add defensive reinforcements to his squad after Florian Lejeune underwent knee surgery earlier this week.

As things stand, Benitez has club captain Jamaal Lascelles, new £3m signing Fabian Schar and Ciaran Clark.

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