Newcastle boss Steve Bruce leads RB Leipzig in transfer chase for soon-to-be free agent Juventus defender Radu Dragusin

NEWCASTLE reportedly lead RB Leipzig in the race for highly-rated Juventus defender Radu Dragusin.

Calciomercato claims Steve Bruce is eager to sign the Romanian centre-back, 19, when his contract expires this summer.

But Newcastle must still contend with interest from Leipzig, who see Dragusin as a replacement for Bayern Munich-bound Dayot Upamecano.

Dragusin joined Juventus in 2018 after emerging as Romania’s top youth prospect, snubbing Chelsea in the process.

And he made his first senior appearance in December’s 3-0 Champions League win against Dinamo Kiev.

Dragusin has gone on to clock up another three games under Andrea Pirlo.

But doubts remain over the ace’s future in Turin, with just months remaining on his contract.

It’s seen Newcastle step to the front of the queue for Dragusin’s coveted signature.

Toon defenders Fabian Schar and Federico Fernandez are both out of contract this summer.

And Dragusin would be a fine replacement should one, or both, leave St James’ Park on a free transfer.

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However, German giants Leipzig are also fans and look set to step up their interest after star man Upamecano agreed a £37m switch to Club World Cup champs Bayern.

There is also said to be interest from Atalanta, who have forced their way into Serie A’s top four in recent years.

Dragusin could soon be forced to make a big decision, although his preference is to stay at Juve after turning down Chelsea in order to link up with Cristiano Ronaldo.

And his agent revealed at Christmas that he is confident a new contract will be sorted soon.

Florin Manea said: “Radu impressed everyone. Other teams were interested too but Juventus really wanted him.

“He asked me, ‘Where can I become a great defender?’ Chelsea wanted him, but that’s why he chose Juventus.

“From there he got his head down. Work, sweat, nutrition, he’s a real professional.

“He arrives two hours earlier than everyone and works out at the gym – then he has an athlete like Cristiano Ronaldo as a role model.

“We’ve never had the idea of leaving Juventus, signing a new deal will not be a problem.

“We see his future here. Three years ago he was watching Ronaldo on TV, now he plays with him. Sometimes dreams come true.”

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