Javier Manquillo has struggled to impress the Newcastle United supporters since arriving at the club, particularly when he has been deployed at left-back.
Paul Dummett’s absence through injury has left Rafa Benitez without his first-choice left-back in recent weeks, but his return to the substitutes bench against Wolves suggests he is ready to slot back into the first-team.
Both Javier Manquillo and Matt Ritchie – two players who prefer to operate at right-back and right-wing respectively – have been called upon in his absence.
The problem is that the former is naturally right-footed and he tarnishes the balance of the side when he starts at left-back, while Ritchie’s obvious defensive frailties were exposed when Matt Doherty burst into the area unchallenged to head home Wolves’ winner on Sunday afternoon.
Benitez was effectively forced into playing Ritchie at left-back due to Manquillo’s glaring incompetency, but a recent report from Football Insider suggests that the Spaniard has identified a potential solution.
The report has revealed that Newcastle are one of three club’s tracking the progress of Tottenham Hotspur’s Jaden Brown, who is unlikely to be offered a contract extension on his current deal expiring in June 2019.
Brown is lacking the senior experience to immediately slot into Newcastle’s first-team squad, but with meticulous guidance from Benitez he has the potential to rapidly establish himself as a genuine challenger for Dummett’s place at left-back.
Significantly, Brown is a naturally left-footed player who would offer the balance and width which Manquillo has distinctly lacked at left-back this season, and that will naturally be drawing Benitez’s interest.
Considering Brown’s standing in north London and the fact his contract is due to expire next summer, it appears that Benitez has a wonderful opportunity to steal a rare bargain signing in January, providing he can fend off competition from Rangers and Huddersfield.
The vast majority of Newcastle fans will be hoping they never have to see Manquillo propping up the left side of the defensive unit again, and the signing of Brown could ensure that Benitez is well prepared to deal with Dummett’s future absences.
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