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The Rumour Mill – Gaëtan Bong

Gaetan Bong in action for Valenciennes

Apparent activity in and around St James’ Park refuses to die down, with the club seemingly linked with at least one new player each day.

This time, it looks as though the Magpies may have made an approach for Velenciennes’ left back Gaëtan Bong.

With the red mist descending amongst some fans over the striker predicament, this rumour may have gone unnoticed, or perhaps even seen as unnecessary, by those frantically skimming through the top scorers’ list of the major European leagues.

Nevertheless, the possibility of bringing in a full back should be welcomed given the recent exposure of defensive frailties in a whole host of matches.

There’s no doubt that the club have a very promising talent in Davide Santon, but with his form not being as impressive as last season, perhaps a bout of competition for a place in the starting XI will help kick his season into gear. The purchase of another left back would also give much needed depth to the position in preparation for participating in the strenuous Europa League.

One thing’s for sure, this isn’t an aimless rumour conjured up by some fantasising journalist. Valenciennes’ president, Jean-Raymond Lagrand, has suggested that Newcastle have made an offer for the Cameroon international. However, Lagrand was quick to add, “we will wait and see”.

The fact that the Ligue 1 side are deliberating ferociously over the approach suggests that Newcastle haven’t exagerrated the player’s value, something that I’m not surprised about given the club’s usual astute spending.

A potential stumbling block could materialise if Valenciennes are unable to find a replacement, with the president also stating the importance of getting a left back in as one departs.

Admittedly, I know little of the 24 year old, but I have learned to trust the scouting team at this club to pick out genuine talent. And with our impressive track record for dealings in France, I see no reason to be pessimistic.

What must be identified is that the current defence doesn’t seem to have enough depth to contribute in a turn of fortunes for the side. The Europa League must be considered as well. I recognise that a substantial number of fans would prefer to see news of a striker coming in, but let’s not forget that there are other positions which need strengthening. What’s encouraging is that Pardew looks determined to spend.

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