Newcastle United's transfer plans may have to change after Chelsea make late move

Chelsea are growing increasingly confident of beating Newcastle United to the signing of Tosin Adarabioyo.

Newcastle were in pole position to land Adarabioyo on a free transfer, but Chelsea have made a late move for the defender this week. Chelsea already have a number of centre-backs on their books, including Axel Disasi, Benoit Badiashile, Levi Colwill and Wesley Fofana, but the Blues are able to offer Adarabioyo even bigger wages and European football to boot. Adarabioyo would also not have to uproot after settling in London following four years at neighbours Fulham.

Newcastle have put a lot of work into the deal - the absence of a transfer fee was a real attraction for a player worth an eight-figure sum - but the black-and-whites may now have to look elsewhere. Newcastle remain hopeful of signing another soon-to-be free agent, Lloyd Kelly, but if Adarabioyo chooses Chelsea, the Magpies have to weigh up whether to dip into the transfer market to bring in an additional centre-back or if another area of the team should take precedence in a window where Eddie Howe has to be smart to strengthen several key positions.

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Newcastle's summer plans were already 'impacted' after Sven Botman and Jamaal Lascelles both suffered serious knee injuries back in March. Botman and Lascelles could be out for another three to six months yet and, even when the pair do return to action, it will take them time to get back to their very best.

As it stands, Fabian Schar, Dan Burn, Emil Krafth and youngster Alex Murphy are Newcastle's only fit options at centre-back. Burn and Krafth, of course, have played the majority of their football under Howe at full-back while Murphy has made just two competitive appearances for the first team to date.

The coaching team have identified the team's defensive issues as an area for real improvement after only West Ham and relegated Luton Town and Sheffield United conceded more goals on the road (40) this season.