Newcastle ready to pounce for relegation-threatened defender who can become ‘top star’ under Howe

Alex Iwobi and Mohammed Salisu

Newcastle United are spying an opportunity to lure a Southampton defender straight back up to the Premier League if Saints are relegated, according to a report.

At the end of last season, there were only three teams in between Newcastle and Southampton in the Premier League table. But this time around, Eddie Howe’s side have been building towards a brighter future, whereas Saints could suffer relegation.

After 24 and 25 games respectively, Newcastle have almost double the number of points Southampton do. Therefore, they are becoming an attractive destination for players again, whereas the club from the South Coast risk losing some of their own.

If Southampton do go down to the Championship, there have already been claims that they will allow club captain James Ward-Prowse to finally leave. Another squad member who could follow him through the exit door is Mohammed Salisu.

According to the Daily Mirror, Salisu has become a target for Newcastle, who already liked the look of him last year.

Southampton signed Salisu from Valladolid in 2020 and have since seen him establish himself in the Premier League and internationally for Ghana, whom he represented at the World Cup.

The 23-year-old will be one of their more marketable assets to sell if they end up in the second tier. With that in mind, Newcastle are reportedly considering a move for him.

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The Mirror claims Newcastle chiefs believe Salisu could become a “top star” for them. Crucially, their head coach Eddie Howe is an admirer.

Even more promisingly for Newcastle, the left footer will be out of contract at St. Mary’s Stadium next summer. Therefore, Southampton may have to sell him this year, even if they do escape the drop.

Salisu set for next step

Should he be on the move, Newcastle will want to establish themselves as his potential next takers. It is not clear from the Mirror how much they might have to pay to sign him. Yet there has been a follow-up scoop from The Sun confirming their interest and that he is rated at £15million.

Salisu has made 27 appearances in all competitions this season for Southampton. During his overall spell with the club, he has played 79 times.

Soon, a new challenge could be in line for him. Newcastle are aiming to replenish their defence in the summer for the long term, despite it being one of their strongest areas this season.

They have conceded the fewest goals of any team in the Premier League so far this term. However, they might need a younger successor to the 31-year-old, Fabian Schar.

Hence, Salisu could take Schar’s place as a partner for Sven Botman. That said, both Botman and Salisu are left footed, so they may not necessarily be compatible as a partnership.

Still, Newcastle are wanting to establish themselves as a place where talented players can grow. Therefore, they might have plans whereby they could fit Salisu into their setup too.

For now, he needs to focus on Southampton’s fight against the drop. But whether they succeed or not, he might not be with them next season.

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