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Benitez enquires about long-standing target in bid to bolster Newcastle ranks – report

Newcastle United supporters have been pretty despondent in the Transfer Tavern in recent days, what with their side bowing out of the FA Cup with defeat at Chelsea on Sunday, alongside news that they have missed out on signing Daniel Sturridge.

Rafa Benitez’s men earned their spot in the last 32 of the world’s oldest club competition with a 3-1 win over Luton Town earlier this month, but their run came to an end on Sunday as a Michy Batshuayi brace alongside a Marcos Alonso free-kick secured a comfortable victory for Antonio Conte’s Blues. And things have got even worse for our resident Magpies fans as news on Monday broke suggesting that their team were closing in on a deal for Liverpool’s Sturridge, only for West Brom to secure a deal for the 28-year-old on loan for the rest of the season.

Subsequently, there have been many frustrated Newcastle fans in the Tavern in the last few days, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by a recent report from The Daily Mail, which suggests that their side have ‘asked’ Manchester City about a possible move for long-standing Benitez target Eliaquim Mangala.

The 26-year-old made the move to the Etihad Stadium back in 2014 but has done little in that time to prove his credentials in English football, resulting in his loan move to Sevilla for the entirety of the 2016/17 campaign.

And although he has made 15 appearances for Pep Guardiola’s side this term, the Frenchman is not going to usurp the likes of John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi, or Vincent Kompany in the centre-back ranks, let alone new signing Aymeric Laporte.

As such, recent reports suggest that Benitez’s Newcastle have ‘asked’ about the possibility to loaning in Mangala for the rest of the season, with the former Chelsea and Liverpool chief seeking to firm up his interest in the defender having reportedly been keen since the summer window.

But with the Magpies seriously in need of attacking reinforcements, not defensive ones, it’s a move which is likely to raise a few eyebrows among the Newcastle faithful.

Landlord’s verdict: While Newcastle United haven’t been watertight at the back so far this season, their defensive record is better than the vast majority of teams around them to suggest that it’s an area which doesn’t need much attention in the last knockings of the transfer window.

Nonetheless, recent reports suggest that the Magpies have ‘asked’ about the availability of Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala, a player Rafa Benitez has reportedly been keeping tabs on since the summer window.

The 26-year-old remains unconvincing at Premier League level but could well be allowed to leave given the arrival of Aymeric Laporte, a move which would certainly give Benitez’s side more top-flight experience ahead of a likely relegation battle.

But is he really better than their other centre-back options? Doubtful.

Newcastle fans… what do you make of the news? Let us know!

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