Ireland's Ciaran Clark heavily linked with Newcastle switch

Defender reportedly has his release clause activated

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Ciaran Clark Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Ireland defender Ciaran Clark appears to be edging closer to a move to Newcastle United.

The Aston Villa centre-back has had his £5 million release clause activated by Rafa Benitez's side according to Sky Sports.

The defender, who came through the Villa academy, had been linked with West Brom before Euro 2016 kicked off.

At the tournament, he started Ireland's first two matches, conceding an own goal in the 1-1 draw against Sweden and then playing in the 3-0 defeat to Belgium.

The 26-year-old was relegated with Villa last season and will remain in the Championship if a move to Newcastle transpires, given that the Magpies are joining them in the second tier after their own demotion at the end of last season.