Edging closer to the possibility of accomplishing a European finish, there’s no denying the fact that Alan Pardew will have to add new faces in defence to hold their own in Europe. Not to say our back line will be torn apart as soon as they step out of the PL, as the third most clean sheets in the league (13) shows, but when it comes to backup Pardew isn’t exactly spoilt for choice.
Although Davide Santon was brought in last summer to replace Enrique, the young Italian has hardly made the left-back spot his own. Perch, Gutirrez, Ferguson and Ryan Taylor have all shown their versatility by stepping out of their preferred position in effort to help out on the left, and the addition of a defender with European experience surely wouldn’t go amiss.
With the prospect of the Europa League, perhaps even the Champions League, knocking on Pardew’s door, it’s inevitable that he will strengthen the back four come the summer. With the lack of experienced defensive options on the bench, injuries caused by a demanding and crammed schedule could become devastating for the Magpies. The Spectator’s View takes a look at the top five defenders who could arrive at St James’ this summer.
5. Bruno Bertucci
Sky Sports reported last week that the Brazilian left back has attracted the attention of teams throughout Europe, including Newcastle, impressing in his first season at Swiss side Grasshoppers. Bertucci has enticed a handful of PL sides such as Sunderland, Stoke and QPR, along with clubs in France and Germany. The Brazilian could be tempted to a move to Tyneside, with the possibility of joining fellow South Americans; Gutierrez and Colo, to fly flag in Europe.
4. Mathieu Debuchy
Midfield starlet, Yohan Cabaye has been plying his trade at St James’ for less than a year and is already promoting Geordie life to his national team mates. Last week, Le Dreamboat revealed that Lille and France right-back Mathieu Debuchy wants to move to Newcastle in the summer transfer window. Also being observed by Manchester United to solve their right back dilemma, Debuchy helped Lille to the domestic double last season alongside Cabaye and could offer a steady head at the back if Pardew decides to splash out on the Frenchman. With doubts over Simpson’s commitment to the club, he could also prove to be an exciting replacement with a stack of European experience.
3. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa
The rise of French rookies Montpellier has captured the attention of Europe’s top teams, and sort after captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa recently revealed that he is keen to move to the EPL. Brushing aside interest from German giants Bayern Munich, the 22-year-old said that he would prefer a move to England, with Newcastle and Liverpool both interested. With the ability to play anywhere across the back four, along with a £5million price tag, Graham Carr and Co could be on the verge of netting yet another French gem.
2. Douglas Franco Teixeira
The imposing Brazilain born – Dutchman is reported to want out of Steve McClaren’s FC Twente side in aim of a move to the Premier League. Standing at 6’4”, the centre back has made over 100 league appearances and bagged nine goals since joining the Dutch side back in 2007. Widely regarded as one of the best defenders in Holland, praised for his strong presence in the air, Douglas was a key figure when McClaren led Twente to their first domestic league title in 2010. With his contract due to run out in the summer, the former Middlesbrough boss has supposedly lined up a replacement in preparation for Douglas’ imminent departure.
1. Erik Pieters
Close friend of Tim Krul, the PSV left back has been linked to Newcastle since last summer and has made no doubt of his fondness of the club, tweeting regularly about the Magpies. Pieters has made over dozen appearances for the Oranje and is set for Euro selection, after taking the reins from veteran Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Despite fracturing his foot towards the end of last year, the Dutchman has bounced back and featured in Holland’s friendly against England. With PSV currently sitting 5th in the Eredivisie, the temptation of competing in Europe in front of Krul could be enough to seal a reported £5million move to Tyneside.
Improvements from the likes of James Perch and the important return of Steven Taylor will do nothing but put a smile on the face of Geordies. Nevertheless, Pardew will certainly need to add strong defensive support to withstand the attacking prowess of teams within both European competitions.