Defensive struggles continue for Newcastle United.
Currently in the relegation zone with 15 points after 18 matches, Newcastle United are struggling in their effort to score goals up top and to prevent them defensively. With a goal differential of minus 11, it is evident that changes are needed in the back.
Jamaal Lascelles has undoubtedly been the most consistent defender for Newcastle United, but his supporting cast has been hit or miss this season in terms of their marking efficiency. The addition of Florian Lejeune has strengthened the back line, but he struggles in adapting to the pace of English football and needs to improve the timing of his tackles in the penalty area.
On the wings, DeAndre Yedlin has, for the most part, played well this season as his work ethic in defense and midfield deserves praise. Javier Manquillo has been a decent right-back thus far, but he is not the long-term option the Magpies seek for that position.
Newcastle United must pursue defenders who play with confidence, aggression and are quick on their feet to stay in front of the opposition in the English Premier League.
NUFC Transfer Suggestions
Michael Lang – Age: 26 – Club: FC Basel – National Team: Switzerland
The Swiss international currently plays his club football for FC Basel. Lang is a well-rounded defender who gives it is his all when fighting for a 50-50 ball, clears the ball out of the danger zone without hesitation and takes the initiative to mark the best players on the opposing team. In addition, Lang has also been able to get on the score sheet for FC Basel 24 times since 2015 as a defender.
While his club is a dominant force in the Swiss Super League, they are considered to be an inferior side when they play Champions League football. This inferiority requires a different game plan that enables Lang to use his vision and speed to build up an effective counter attack from the back.
Lang has also earned his spot on the Swiss national team and is expected to be on the final roster at the next World Cup. There is much to like about the Swiss defender and he could be the difference maker that Newcastle United are seeking on that back line.
Hasan Ali Kaldirim – Age: 28 – Club: Fenerbahce – National Team: Turkey
The Turkish international currently plays for Fenerbahce in the Turkish Super Lig. Kaldirim has enjoyed good form and a good reputation for the Istanbul-based club since 2012. The Turkish defender plays physical football, wins aerial battles, crosses the ball into the penalty area well and knows when it is appropriate to play out of position.
Kaldirim plays with the confidence of an elite defender as he aims to earn regular call-ups to the Turkish national team. That is the kind of mentality that Newcastle United needs from its players, especially during this win-less period where the level of confidence is low.
At 28-years-old, Kaldirim is still in his prime and is playing with something to prove. The motivation he has to gain recognition as an elite defender is a major reason why an offer should be made in January.