Realistic January Signings – Part Four: Left Backs

Left back is a hit-and-miss position for us this season.

Playing as a wing back early in the campaign, Matt Ritchie was one of the league’s chief creators going forward, but an accident waiting to happen in his own half.

Jamal Lewis, who often looked like a rabbit in headlights under Steve Bruce, looked half decent under Howe until his injury. Oh, and we have Paul Dummett too. All of which is to say that it’s likely we’ll bring in a new left back this January.

Here are my suggestions (excluding the heavily linked Lucas Digne):

Philipp Max – PSV

One look at Philipp Max and you’ll be reminded of someone like Lucas Digne or Aleksandar Kolarov (or dare I say a left-footed Trippier): he’s an attack-minded, left-footed player with a wicked delivery. It’s not unusual, for example, to see Max stood over set pieces, and with a record of about one assist every six games, he’s certainly a danger from those situations.

However, he’s more than just an asset going forward, being an aggressive tackler capable of getting back time and time again after he’s sauntered forward.

Yes, success in the German and Dutch leagues doesn’t always translate into success in the Prem, but for a player who’d likely cost no more than £15mil, it feels worth the risk with the club’s new wealth.

Omar Richards – Bayern Munich

Is Omar Richards the first player to make the move from Reading to Bayern Munich? I’ve not checked, but logic dictates it can’t be a regular journey. That’s exactly what Richards did, moving to Bavaria on a free transfer to provide back-up for the brilliant Alphonso Davies.

Since then Richards has only played just over 300 minutes of football, and with Lucas Hernandez also able to fill in at full back, he might not see that number increase too much over the second half of the season.

A loan move and the chance of regular football could benefit all parties, with Richards able to continue his development at the top level, Bayern able to (assumedly) get a much-improved player for next season, and Newcastle getting a solid player clearly capable of stepping up to a high level.

Antonee Robinson – Fulham

In the summer of 2020, Robinson chose to join then-newly promoted Fulham over a raft of other clubs, Newcastle among them. Considering that Fulham went down, it would be easy to assume that Robinson struggled as he made the step up from Wigan, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, Robinson looked full of running in every game, solid in the tackle, and a regular threat going forward, being one of the standout stars in that Fulham team.

This season he’s picked up where he left off in the Championship, but with Fulham also having Joe Bryan to call upon, Robinson could be available, should the right offer come in. A nice added bonus: Robinson is a US international, and could help the club reach new fans across the pond.

Those are just my picks, all potentially unnecessary given the club’s expressed interest in Digne. But should the Digne deal not come to fruition, any of the players above, as well as the likes of Robin Goosens from Atalanta or Rico Henry of Brentford, would add quality to our team.

But what do you think? Let me know in the comments, and join me in praying we bring in reinforcements sooner rather than later.

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