Searching for a replacement or competition?

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There are bound to be arrivals at Newcastle this summer, but there could be a couple of exits, too. The left back area is where much transfer activity could take place at St James’ Park. Jose Enrique has been the subject of interest from other clubs for a long time now, and it still remains to be seen whether ‘The Bull’ will be wearing a Newcastle shirt next season. Whether he is or not, is looks like Neil Taylor could be one of Alan Pardew’s acquisitions, but hopefully as cover and not a replacement.

Let’s start with Neil Taylor. A dodgy tackle in the opening seconds of the Championship playoff semi final first leg that resulted in him being sent off and losing his place in the final to Alan Tate aside, the Welshman has had an impressive season for Swansea. Despite being untested at the top level, the 22 year old is highly rated within the Championship and has proved he’s adept at moving up a few leagues after his move from non-league Wrexham just 12 months ago.

Taylor started his youth career at Manchester City, so he must be commended for working his way back up after things didn’t work out for him with the Citizens. He’s even earned three caps for Wales and, while competition for places in Gary Speed’s starting eleven isn’t that tough, international experience cannot be sniffed at. Taylor is still near the start of his career, and the signs are promising.

However, there is no comparison between Taylor and Jose Enrique. The Spaniard has now adapted to the English game and was one of the standout left backs in the Premier League last season. What is appealing about a possible Taylor deal, though, is the fee. If reports are to be believed then the Welshman has a buy-out clause and could be available for as little as £1 million. Despite Swansea’s promotion, a move to the north-east should prove to be attractive for Taylor, too.

At just £1 million, Taylor would be great backup for Enrique and over time would hopefully progress to challenge him for a starting berth. If the worst was to happen and the Spaniard was to move on, I can’t see Taylor being ready to step up right away, but again he should do well as a backup to any other players that might come in.

You don’t always need to spend big to get quality, Cheik Tiote is a good example of that, but let’s just hope Neil Taylor is coming in as competition for Jose Enrique rather than as a replacement. However, commentators might be hoping that Neil doesn’t come to Tyneside, as he’d being joining Steven and Ryan as the Triple Taylors!

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