Despite having five center-backs on the books this season, Newcastle have been short at the position on occasion. That was also the case last season despite having six central defenders at the club.
Captain Jamaal Lascelles is likely lost for the season with a stress fracture. Though it might not prove too costly as Federico Fernandez came back just in the nick of time. Now Fabian Schar is also back in training to play a part down the stretch.
If Fernandez signs an extension, Newcastle will again be stocked at the position with Florian Lejeune also returning from Alaves. However, it’s an area that is aging and needs to be addressed at some point in the near future.
We’ve recently been linked with Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer, a towering center-back who could be available at a cut-rate price due to a contract stalemate. He could well be worth a bid in the £5-10m range should those funds become available this summer.
Football Insider is reporting of another 22-year-old center-back that Newcastle are tracking. According to their sources, Vitesse Arnhem’s Danilho Doekhi (pictured above) is a potential summer target.
The Dutch U21 international joined Vitesse in 2018 from Ajax, where he never made a first-team appearance. He’s impressed in Arnhem with 90 appearances over the past few seasons. Like Ajer, he’ll enter the final year of his contract this summer.
Funds will be limited if Mike Ashley is unable to resurrect the Saudi-backed takeover. Though hopefully, the Super League shenanigans of the ‘top six’ will soften the Premier League’s stance on PIF and the Saudi state being inextricably linked.
If we are to endure another season under Ashley, bringing in a young promising center-back like Ajer or Doehki may be in the cards this summer. We could possibly offload Lejeune and/or Schar, both of whom will have just a year remaining on their contracts, to help fund the deal.