Eibar sporting director Fran Garagarza has admitted that Newcastle United target Florian Lejeune could leave La Liga side during the summer transfer window. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur had also been linked with the France centre-back in recent days but the Spanish chief says that Rafael Benitez's side are "taking very strong steps" to win the race.

Lejeune, 26, was recruited by Manchester City from Girona in the summer of 2015 as a prospect for the future after impressing in the second division.

However, the Premier League giants sent him back on loan to the Catalan side during the 2015-2016 campaign before opting to sell him to Eibar during the last summer transfer window.

The towering defender has since been linked with a number of other English top flight clubs with his 188cm frame making him a perfect fit for the English football.

In March, Marca reported that Arsene Wenger was considering him to bolster the Arsenal defence ahead of the 2017-2018 campaign.

Tottenham are also said to be monitoring the situation but earlier this week the Spanish publication revealed that Newcastle had emerged as the frontrunners after having made Lejeune an "irresistible" formal offer, which would see him double his current salary. Marca said that Arsenal and Tottenham remain keen on the defender but Benitez was considering meeting his €10m (£8.8m, $11.2m) release clause in the coming weeks to end the saga.

Florian Lejeune
Florian Lejeune only joined Eibar last summer from Manchester City. Getty

Eibar sporting director Fran Garagarza has now confirmed those reports, suggesting that the La Liga side risk losing the defender to Newcastle. "I'm not very optimistic, I see it difficult for Lejeune to stay. We are worried that Newcastle are taking very strong steps," the Eibar sporting director admitted to the Spanish reports as quoted by Marca.