The January move that’s just become even more urgent for Newcastle United’s new owners

A thrilling 3-3 draw at St James’ Park was greeted with applause at the full-time whistle, but the outcome also rooted Newcastle to the foot of the Premier League table.

Free-flowing, attacking football was on show as Eddie Howe’s Toon side had 23 shots; the most we’ve had in a single Premier League game all season.

However, as has often been the case this season, the backline – and goalkeeper specifically – cost us what should have been a crucial victory.

Newcastle have conceded 27 goals in just 12 league games this campaign, the joint-worst (alongside Norwich) in the division.

It doesn’t matter how many goals we score at one end if we can’t keep them out at the other. Football really is that simple, folks. If we continue to defend like we have done, then Newcastle will be the richest club in the Championship next season.

One positive is that our focus in the transfer window is a lot clearer following Saturday’s game: Newcastle MUST recruit defensively.

A quick, imposing central defender should be top of the new consortium’s shopping list.

While he has been a solid servant for us over the last five years, Ciaran Clark is no longer good enough to cut it in the top flight.

Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar and Jamal Lascelles arguably are, but I would hate to see a race between the three of them as I have seen milk turn quicker than all three.

Matt Ritchie, another dependable player for us in years gone by, looks like a square peg in an increasingly rounder whole at left-back, and Jacob Murphy is another who isn’t in the side for his defensive credentials.

I don’t need to rip into Karl Darlow because everybody knows the score following the Brentford game. Martin Dubravka will unquestionably return as number one against Arsenal and hopefully that can raise the level of those around him, too.

The groundwork must begin now for defenders who can come in and shore up this leaky backline. At the current rate, we are projected to concede 80 – yes, eighty! – goals by the end of the current campaign.

While signing forwards will generate more hype and interest, there would be little point in doing so if we can’t provide an adequate platform for them to build from.

Forget Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland for now, I’d be happy to see James Tarkowski and Nathan Ake – two established Premier League defenders and ones I think we could sign, on Tyneside come February 1.

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