Newcastle United Reignite Interest In Ligue 1 Defensive Ace: Right Fit For Benitez?

According to French news outlet L’Equipe, Newcastle United have rekindled their interest in Nicolas NKoulou. The Torino defender has caught the eye of a number of clubs across Europe, with Sevilla believed to be leading the chase.

The Spanish giants are keen to beef up their defensive unit following the departure of Clement Lenglet to Barcelona last week. However, their bid for the centre-back was reportedly turned down by Torino while they could also face stiff competition from Premier League duo in Newcastle United and West Ham United.

Newcastle, in particular, have shown a keen interest in the services of the Cameroonian international as they aim to bolster their defensive department this summer. In fact, he has been a long-term target for the Magpies, notably in 2015, when the Premier League outfit opted to sign Chancel Mbemba instead of the then Marseille defender.

NKoulou, 28, spent last season on loan to Torino from his parent club Olympique Lyonnais. Following an impressive season, however, his move was made permanent by the Serie A outfit, who exercised a buyout clause worth £3.15 million. The Cameroonian missed only one league game last season as Il Toro finished in the top half of the table.

Although NKoulou actually failed to make a breakthrough at Lyon, the 28-year-old has enjoyed a fairly decorated career, having notably won the African Cup in 2017. He boasts of ample experience in top-flight football with over 250 appearances in Ligue 1 along with 72 caps for his country.

As for Newcastle, the addition of this experienced defender could be a boon for the club bearing in mind that the Magpies could run the risk of losing at least one of their star defenders in the near future. Jamaal Lascelles, in particular, has attracted a lot of interest this summer, following an impressive campaign.

And even though Ciaran Clark could be available from next season, Belgian centre-back Chancel Mbemba has failed to make a breakthrough in the Newcastle starting eleven over the last few years, leaving Rafa Benitez with limited resources in the defensive department.

Thus, the acquisition of someone like NKoulou, who, as iterated earlier, has a vast experience of top-level football could certainly reinvigorate the Newcastle defence as they look to make a better impression in the Premier League next season.

That being said, it remains to be seen whether or not Newcastle will be able to pip the likes of Sevilla and West Ham for the pursuit of this highly rated Torino defender this summer.

Stats Courtesy: Squawka

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