Sunday, January 29, 2023

Newcastle United Close In On This La Liga Defender: A Smart Move By Rafa?

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.

According to reports, Newcastle United are very close to landing La Liga defender Florian Lejeune, with reports claiming that the player is very willing to come to St. James’ Park and has already told his friends. The centre-half has earned some rave reviews in Spain playing for SD Eibar and would be a decent addition to the Magpies squad by all means.

Although Rafa Benitez’s men are active in the transfer market with the same intensity as they were in the previous season, the Toon have found it increasingly difficult to land targets as easily as they did last season. Mainly because of their ‘newly-promoted’ stature, Benitez has to mostly deal with unknown faces and big club loanees.

Defence is one of the areas that need to be strengthened for sure given the young back line Newcastle currently have. In the likes of Chancel Mbemba, Jamaat Lascelles, Ciaran Clark and Grant Hanley, Benitez doesn’t have many experienced individuals holding his mast at the base. Hanley, on top of that, is a likely departure from St. James’ Park this summer.

Newcastle had a brilliant defensive record last season, conceding only 40 goals throughout the season in 46 games. They won the Championship to get the automatic promotion. However, Premier League would be a different challenge altogether and Benitez would need experienced players in pressure situations, something that Lejeune could bring.

The 26-year-old French international is known for his disciplined defending and clever reading of the game. He was a regular for the Spanish side last season playing 37 times in all competitions. Although he will find it difficult to topple over the likes of Lascelles and Clark to break into the first team, he is bound to provide good competition to them.

In Lascelles, Newcastle have a young leader who has shown maturity way above his age last season and alongside Lejeune, he will get the needed experience to play at the top level. Having played against the likes of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and more, the Frenchman is definitely a good catch.

Eibar are, however, expecting Newcastle to meet their asking price for their player. The centre half’s release clause is said to be around €10 million (£8.79m), something Newcastle can easily meet given their financial stability.

Lejeune’s playing in Premier League is a long time due. He was signed by Manchester City back in 2015 but was soon loaned off to Girona FC. It was followed by a sale to Eibar in 2016. No wonder he is excited about returning to England.

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