After stunning the country and finishing in 5th place, Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United are looking to strengthen this summer and finish in the Champions’ League places that they were so close to last season.
Pardew replaced Chris Hughton to the dismay of many in 2010 but he’s proved all his doubters wrong by leading Newcastle to the Europa League and within touching distance of an almost unimaginable Champions League place. Led by new signings like Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse, Newcastle took the league by storm and will now be looking to go one stop further.
So as Newcastle still reap the rewards of selling Andy Carroll for £35m, who will Pardew target this summer and how likely is it that they’ll make the move to St. James’ Park? (or the Sports Direct Arena, depending on your preference!)
Jan Vertonghen, Centre Back, Ajax
The Belgian international defender has been tracked by a number of Premier League clubs over the past 18 months including Arsenal, Liverpool and more recently Tottenham.
Spurs were seemingly set to complete the signing of Vertonghen but the sacking of Harry Redknapp has delayed the transfer and with it stalling, could Newcastle steal in and sign the defender? Whilst Fabrizio Coloccini and Steven Taylor impressed last year, Vertonghen is a marked improvement on both.
He’d cost about £10-15m so they’d have to cough up, but from what I’ve seen of Vertonghen he’s certainly worth it, as he’s even able to fill in at full back or midfield if needed.
Mathieu Debuchy, Right Back, Lille
As I wrote last week, Newcastle are desperately searching for a right back to replace contract rebel Danny Simpson. They have been actively targeting Lille full back Mathieu Debuchy even before Euro 2012, but as he replaced the injured Bacary Sagna in the France team for the tournament, his performances only served to heighten the Magpies’ interest in him.
A bid has already been rejected but expect Pardew to return with another bid closer to £10m. Inter Milan are seemingly the only competition for him so this could be a straight choice between the two clubs.
Luuk de Jong, Striker, Twente
With speculation rife over Demba Ba’s future at the club, Newcastle have been linked with a number of strikers and Dutch international de Jong is at the top of the list. De Jong smashed 32 goals in just 50 games for Twente this season and has been linked with clubs all over the continent.
Just like Debuchy, £10m could secure his signature and if Ba was to leave, I’d fully expect de Jong to be playing in black and white stripes next season.
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