Newcastle keen on player once linked to Liverpool and Manchester giants

Neil Foster

Reports claim Newcastle United are the latest club interested in signing out-of-favour Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam in January.

Ghoulam, who turns 30 next month, joined Napoli in January 2014 after making 97 appearances for French club St Etienne. Rafael Benitez was in charge at the time and immediately thrust the Algeria international into the first team.

He was a regular for the next four years but has fallen down the pecking order in recent times. The French-born ace made just three starts last term and has started one match in 2020-2021.

It seems as though his days at Stadio San Paolo might be numbered, according to Le Buteur. The Magpies join some illustrious names in being linked to Ghoulam.

Back in 2018, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United were all mentioned as possible destinations. Watford were also named as a possible suitor 12 months’ ago.

Steve Bruce’s Newcastle would have some pulling power but owner Mike Ashley has tightened the purse strings during the pandemic. It might be that a loan deal is all they could offer and the Italian club may be hoping for a permanent deal.

The Partenopei are said to be open to offers for the left-back and the Tynesiders are hoping to strengthen. They have slipped towards the relegation zone in recent weeks but still sit seven points from danger.

Boro defender linked

Bruce took aim at his players after becoming the first club to lose to Sheffield United this season. He pulled no punches in his assessment of Tuesday’s display at Bramall Lane.

There is no question he wants to shake things up and might try to lure a player from Middlesbrough to St James’ Park. The man in question is Djed Spence, who has been attracting attention from many clubs.

Wolves and Crystal Palace are two clubs that are also said to be monitoring his situation at the Riverside. Boro boss Neil Warnock has made it clear he does not want to sell the London-born full-back.

Spence has featured in all but one of Boro’s championship games this term, starting 12 and scoring once. He is rated highly on Teesside and it seems inevitable he will leave at some stage.

There has been no talk of a bid and plenty of rumours do the rounds this time of year. But he would certainly be a welcome addition to the Newcastle ranks to help put them back on track.


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