Newcastle identify familiar face to fall back on if transfer for top defensive target fails

Karim Adeyemi trying to get away from Diego Carlos

Newcastle United have reportedly set their sights on Roma defender Chris Smalling if they fail to get their top defensive target over the line this month.

After the arrivals of Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood, Eddie Howe’s focus is on signing a focal point for his defence. The relegation-threatened Magpies have leaked 42 goals in 19 Premier League games. Only bottom-of-the-table Norwich have conceded more this season.

Newcastle have made several bids for Lille’s Sven Botman, but the Dutch star looks untouchable in France.

90mins also claim that Newcastle “have upped their offer” for Sevilla defender Diego Carlos.

The Geordies are in talks with the LaLiga club for the 28-year-old, who is now claimed to be their top target.

An opening bid of just under £30m was turned down, and now sources have confirmed that an offer around £33m has been presented to Sevilla.

The Spanish side want £40m for the centre-back, per the report. But while Newcastle have the cash, they may struggle persuading the Brazilian to move to England.

With that in mind, Newcastle officials have been talking to Roma about former Manchester United man Smalling.

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According to Teleradiostereo, via Tuttomercatoweb Newcastle want to bring the 32-year-old back to the Premier League.

Again though, per the report, Smalling is “not fully convinced” by leaving Rome for a relegation battle.

Smalling has resurrected his career since initially moving to Rome on loan in 2019. Tottenham and Everton were reportedly interested in the defender last summer.


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Smalling vs Mourinho

The arrival of Jose Mourinho had raised questions over Smalling’s future. The pair did not exactly see eye to eye at Manchester United after Mourinho suggested Smalling was not prepared to play through the pain barrier.

Smalling though denied any issues with the Portuguese manager in July.

“Ultimately, if the manager wasn’t speaking about you and didn’t want you to play and push, that is when you need to worry because he has stopped caring about you, he doesn’t want you involved and he doesn’t want you to play,” said the centre-back.

“He is a born winner. He likes to push everyone to the limits. That is what he has done throughout his career and it has reaped results,” said Smalling.

And the former Fulham man has made 16 appearances this season. And started the last eight Serie A games after missing a month earlier in the season with a hamstring problem.

READ MORE: Ralf Rangnick holds the key as Newcastle plot record deal for Man Utd target to follow Chris Wood