Released former Newcastle United player set for unlikely Champions League reunion
Newcastle will be joined by 31 other club’s in the tournament, including another surprise qualifier from France. Just three seasons after promotion from Ligue 2, Lens have secured a top three finish in Ligue 1 and a spot in the Champions League next season following a run of five straight wins.
Part of Lens’ European challenging side is former Newcastle left-back Massadio Haïdara. The now 30-year-old has been a regular for the French side this season, making 30 league appearances.
Haidara joined Newcastle during the 2012-13 season – coincidentally the last time the club played in Europe. The French-born Mali international went on to make 53 appearances for the club over a six-season spell, including four appearances in the Europa League.
But a lack of game-time saw Haidara leave St James’ Park as a free agent at the end of the 2017-18 season. He joined Lens in Ligue 2, helping the side get promoted in his second season where they have since kicked-on in the top tier.
Like Newcastle, Lens lack of European football in recent seasons is set to see them named alongside The Magpies in pot four of the draw.