Italian outlet Tuttomercato claim Rafa Benitez is eyeing a January move for Inter Milan left-back Yuto Nagatomo – with fellow Premier League sides West Brom and Burnley also believed to be interested.
When we see the club linked to an ‘Inter Milan defender’ I automatically cast my mind to former full-back Davide Santon (who still ‘plays’ at the San Siro with Inter!), however it is 31-year old Japanese international Nagatomo who Italian papers are crediting us with an interest in this time.
Benitez has spoken of his desire to bring in a natural left-back to provide Paul Dummett with competition on his return, but I struggle to believe that Nagatomo is his answer – even if he’s played 200 times for Inter in a league Benitez knows well.
Nagatomo is believed to have been offered a new deal at the San Siro, however is understood to be ‘mulling over their proposal’ as he considers taking on a new challenge after almost 8 seasons in Italy.
The signing of Jesus Gamez and Daryl Murphy have proven that Rafa is more than happy to sign players in their 30’s, so interest in experienced Japanese international isn’t implausible even if it seems unlikely.
Time will tell if this story has any legs, but with Mike Ashley’s long-term future at Newcastle in real doubt, the first question is whether Rafa will get money to spend in January before we consider who we might bring in.