Realistic January Signings – Part Two: Right Backs

Last time out we looked at which goalkeepers Newcastle may look to snap up in January; this time, we’re looking at a position in faster need of improvement: right back. Here are three options I feel we could realistically sign next month to improve the team.

Cedric Soares – Arsenal

Cedric’s been around in the Premier League long enough that I don’t need to give him the hard sell: he’s good going forward and decent (but not great) defensively. He’s not a signing whose name would sell shirts, but he’s been a solid Premier League defender for over five years now and that shouldn’t be underestimated.

At Arsenal, he’s barely getting a look in, playing just 13% of all available minutes so far this season, and often third choice behind Tomiyasu and Chambers, meaning a potential deal shouldn’t be too hard to strike up. Howe’s playing style would suit Cedric’s adventurous nature, and he’s a clear improvement, both in terms of ability and temperament, on either of the options we’ve currently got.

Kieran Trippier – Atletico Madrid

Probably the person on this list most heavily linked to Newcastle, Trippier is a top quality right back who’s having a bit of a troubled time in the Spanish capital right now. Injuries have limited the England international to just 15 appearances this season in all competitions, but when he’s played, he’s looked the player we’re used to seeing from his times with Burnley, Spurs, and England. He’s still very good crosser of the ball, still energetic and hard-working, and, after time under Simeone, much better defensively than he used to be.

The question would be: why would he swap a potential title fight in Spain for a relegation battle in England? The answer, at least in my mind, is that coming back to England keeps Trippier in the conversation, with fans and pundits, for one of those England right back spots when the World Cup runs around. As good as his performances have been in Madrid, there’s a little bit of ‘out of sight, our of mind’, and there’s no doubting Tripper has to do everything he possibly can to help him win a place in the World Cup squad. A stellar 12 months with Newcastle could be just the ticket.

Kevin Mbabu – Wolfsburg

Let’s finish with the Football Manager favourite, Kevin Mbabu. He spent three years at Newcastle as a teenager, and therefore qualifies as a home-grown player for the Toon (roles filled in the squad by Paul Dummett and the Longstaffs, currently), so that’s a nice bonus. But Mbabu is more than just a box-ticker.

He’s a flying full back, getting forward at every chance he gets, and, at 26, is the youngest of the three options I’ve listed, meaning he can be a presence in the squad throughout the transitional period. Capped by Switzerland and with Champions League games under his belt, he’s got a lot of experience for a player so young, something we’re in dire need of at the back.

Other potential options at right back this January include Callum Chambers of Arsenal (though I went for his teammate Cedric) and Colin Dagba of PSG, while looking into the summer, Man City’s Pedro Porro is really making waves over in Portugal, on loan at Sporting CP.

But what do you think of my suggestions? Any you’d like to add? Feeling I’m not being ambitious enough? Let me know!

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