With no certainty that agreement with Blackburn Rovers can be reached over a fee for Grant Hanley, who are Newcastle’s alternatives to the Scottish centre back? Rafa admitted before the win over Bohemians that we are short of centre backs but more importantly, it’s experience we lack.
Isaac Hayden has great potential but at this level, especially if we are to challenge for promotion, we need someone who knows the ropes.
Daniel Ayala of Middlesbrough is seen as the club’s highest priority but there seems little prospect of ‘Boro being willing to sell to us. The former Liverpool defender found his feet on Teeside and proved himself to be well-suited to this level. Whether he could be persuaded to leave their relegation fight for our promotion challenge is open to question.
Derby’s Richard Keogh may be a more realistic target. 29, he has plenty of experience and was in the PFA’s Team of the Season for the Championship in 2015.
But Lewis Dunk of Brighton would be my favourite. Quick and good in the air, he’s only 24 and has longer-term potential.