With one move seemingly tied up with the news of Maiga’s medical it made me wonder how many players we would see through the door after his arrival.
I personally think that we need at least two defenders as well as Modibo Maiga to put us in a strong position for the back end of the season, but whether Mike Ashley and Alan Pardew see it that way it remains to be seen.
We’ve been linked with a number of defenders over the last few months and with our recent injury crisis I’m certain we’ll be dipping into the market to sign a defender. We’ll definitely get one in my opinion, two would be great business by Ashley but I can’t see it, if I’m honest.
Out of the players that we’ve been linked with I’ve pinpointed these five as the most likely to sign for the club, and realistically any of the five would improve our squad, while two of the five would be great business and would stand us in good stead for the end of this season and future seasons.
Nedum Onuoha – Nedum is a player who we were linked with both in the summer and over the past couple of days, since the injury of Steven Taylor. Onuoha has been frozen out at City since their big money signings, but I still see him as a very capable Premier League player. He can play at both right back and centre half which would give us much needed versatility across the back four. At the age of 25, Onuoha would be the right age for the current regime and would represent value for money.
The prices quoted for the former England under 21 international are between £3-4m pounds which I feel is a very good price in the current market. Onuoha has over 100 games of Premier League experience and would be a good player either to give competition to Danny Simpson, or to replace him when Steven Taylor returns at the heart of the defence. We’d have to look past the fact that he’s had a loan spell at Sunderland, but that’d be easy to do for me as I feel he’d improve our squad and first team massively.
Liam Ridgewell – A deal for Ridgewell was something that we tried to thrash out on the final day of the summer transfer window, but the £2 million deal to sign from Birmingham never came to fruition. Supposedly we’d moved on from Ridgewell, but the injury of Steven Taylor may have changed the mind of the Newcastle hierarchy. Ridgewell can play at both left back and centre half so he would also add depth to the Newcastle squad. At the age of 27 Ridgewell would be just a little bit older than the type of player that’s ideal, but his lower price would lower the risk.
Liam would probably be the cheapest deal for the club with a price of around £2 million being quoted for the defender, which is something which Mike Ashley will be very keen on. The former England under 21 international has also played over 100 Premier League games and wouldn’t be a bad signing for the club.
Erik Pieters – Another player who we nearly signed in the summer may be revisited, and that is PSV’s Erik Pieters. His transfer saga dragged on for around a month in the summer, with Newcastle failing to iron out the details of agent fees and other such minor problems, which meant despite being keen on Newcastle Pieters didn’t secure his move. The 23 year old Dutch international can play at both left back and centre back so he could keep his spot in the team, following the return to full fitness of Steven Taylor.
Erik would cost the club around £6-7 million and they’d have to swallow their pride and sort out the problems they had with his agent in order for the deal to go ahead. There’s no doubt he’s a real talent and he’d certainly be a mainstay in the team at either left back or centre half. I’d be extremely happy if a deal for Pieters could be reached, I’m not holding my breath though.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa –James Tomkins – James is a player who I hoped we’d sign last year when it seemed obvious that West Ham were going to go down. Tomkins can play both right back and centre half and the ex-England under 21 international would definitely be the kind of signing that the club was going to make at this current time.
It was reported that we’d had a £2.5 million bid for Tomkins knocked back a few days ago, I think that’s borderline taking the mick to be honest. He’s got a bit of Premier League experience and he’s looking a good player, there was no chance they’d sell him for that, hopefully our next bid is around £4 million and it seals the deal. With 78 appearances to his name already the 22 year old would slot in nicely alongside Coloccini and would provide good competition for Taylor upon his return. As you can tell, Tomkins is a player I’d like us to bring in this January.
They are the five players I feel we have a chance of signing this January. If I had to choose two of them one would definitely be Erik Pieters. His left sidedness gives him the edge over the others and it would mean we’d have a genuine left footed left back who could take Ryan Taylor’s place. Unfortunately it now seems that Erik Pieters will now not be allowed to leave PSV in January, even saying that, I still think we should test their resolve with a bid.
If Pieters was a no-go I would then turn to James Tomkins. He’s a real talent and I’m sure he’d jump at the chance of first team football for a Premier League side. He’s streets ahead of Mike Williamson and he could be a real good centre half in the future. Tomkins wins his fair share of headers, but he’s also a cultured player, so if he was going to be with us for a long time he could fill Coloccini’s boots once he’s retired, but that’s a long way away yet.
The other one would be a toss-up between Nedum Onuoha and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. Both are very similar and can play centre back and right back. Mapou is younger, but Nedum would be cheaper and has experience in the Premier League, but if I’m honest I’d be chuffed with either. I wouldn’t be upset with the signing of Liam Ridgewell, but I’d definitely prefer the other three.
Just imagine a back four of Pieters, Taylor, Coloccini and Santon, with either Tomkins, Onouha or Yanga-Mbiwa sitting on the bench. That’s strength in depth, and it’d give us a real chance to mix it in the top six.
Who would you choose?