Last season Newcastle were forced into making two temporary additions at left back. Firstly, Jetro Willems arrived on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, and the Dutch international showed a lot of promise early on. The 26-year-old scored two goals, one against Manchester City and a belter against to be champions, Liverpool.
However, a nasty cruciate ligament rupture prematurely ended the Dutch international’s season as well as his stay on Tyneside. Danny Rose arrived on a short-term deal in January and capably provided cover, but both stars have since returned to their parent clubs.
One of Newcastle’s top priorities this summer has to be signing a new left back permanently, and for the second time in six months, the Magpies have been linked with Napoli’s Faouzi Ghoulam. Back in January, it was suggested the player turned down a move to St James’ Park, though Corriere dello Sport, have now reported Newcastle are “at the front” of the clubs chasing the Algerian.
It has been suggested that Ghoulam wanted to fight for his place in Gennaro Gattuso’s squad, but he has been unsuccessful in his quest to do so, starting just three times in Serie A last season. Although he has fallen down the pecking order behind players such as Mario Rui, who made 22 starts last term, injury is also to blame for Ghoulam’s low number of starts. A muscle problem caused the Algerian international to miss 20 games last season.
Newcastle should be cautious to ensure that Ghoulam is fully recovered, but providing the left back is fully fit, the Magpies should not hesitate to move for the 29-year-old. He has an incredible wealth of Serie A experience, making 135 appearances, along with 13 appearances in the Champions League.
It has now been three seasons since the left back made more than 12 starts in a Serie A campaign and Newcastle must attempt to lure the experienced defender to St James’ Park. Steve Bruce has reportedly only been offered £35m, plus any money generated from player sales, in the transfer window and Ghoulam is rated at £8.55m (Transfermarkt), meaning the 29-year-old should not break the bank either.