Scottish Premiership champions Celtic are set to miss out on Newcastle United defender Chancel Mbemba, as the Congolese player is set to sign for Porto, according to The Scotsman.

The centre-back has been on the fringes of things at St James’ Park under Rafael Benitez and has been told he can leave the club this summer, as the Spaniard looks to free up space in his squad ahead of making signings in this transfer window.

Brendan Rodgers has been looking to strengthen in defensive areas prior to the new campaign, where he hopes to have the Bhoys challenging both domestically and in Europe.

He oversaw the departure of Erik Sviatchenko last month, and will be aiming to replace him, with the Newcastle star one option he was keen to pursue.

Mbemba has been on Tyneside since 2015, and while he made an impression when he arrived, the longer his stay has gone on the more he has struggled to find regular opportunities in the first-team, and he now appears to be on his way out.

Should the DR Congo complete his exit to Portugal, he will leave having made 58 appearances for the Magpies which saw him find the net once. He was a part of the squad which initially got relegated from the Premier League, but had an influence on their return at the opening time of asking.

The news that Newcastle and Porto have agreed a deal for the defender, which is expected to be concluded by the weekend, will be a blow to Rodgers who had hoped to be able to lure the former Anderlecht star north of the border.

It leaves the Bhoys boss needing to target elsewhere in order to find the body who will provide the boost to his defensive options heading into the new campaign.


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