Newcastle United Set to Part Ways With Flop Defender as Free Transfer to Ligue 1 Side Moves Closer

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Newcastle United are preparing to cut their losses and allow flop defender Massadio Haïdara to leave the club on a free transfer. Ligue 1 side AS Saint-Etienne are the player's most likely destination, with the Alpine club reportedly agreeing to give the Magpies 50% of the money generated from any future sale of the 24-year-old.

According to reports from French football website L'Equipe, Newcastle United are in advanced talks with Les Verts over the left-back's potential move back to his homeland of France. Toon manager Rafa Benítez is slowly but surely overhauling his side, as he attempts to build a team capable of surviving in an increasingly competitive Premier League this season.

Haïdara has endured a miserable spell at St James' Park, after joining the club as part of then-manager Alan Pardew's extensive raid of cut-price Ligue 1 talent in 2013. The former French Under-21 international has made just 37 league appearances during his time with the club, after spending the majority of his stint on the treatment table plagued with a recurrent knee injury.

After a promising three seasons with Nancy, Haïdara had built up quite a reputation as an emerging talent in the left-back position. The player will be desperate to overcome his injury problems and reignite his career in France, and St Etienne could be the ideal club to achieve this with given the lack of expectation allowed by the club's lowly status.

The Magpies have taken a measured approach to the transfer window thus far, with their biggest signing being promising young winger Jacob Murphy, who joined the club for around £9.5m. 

Rafa Benítez has also sought to strengthen his defence, by signing Florian Lejeune from La Liga side SD Eibar for £8.5m and Javier Manquillo from Atlético Madrid for £4.25m.