Why Colley could help stabilize a shaky Newcastle defence
The talented 6ft 3in Gambian international has attracted the Magpies, who have had issues in the defence throughout the season so far.
The Tyneside club have conceded 33 goals already in 21 league games and are in need of bolstering their defensive options, with the club hanging in 13th place – just 5 points off the relegation zone.
Having lost four of their last five league outings, the Newcastle defence has come under the scanner. As a result, manager Steve Bruce is now on the lookout for a quality centre-back.
That said, Newcastle are keeping close tabs on the powerful and athletic Colley, who has contributed to 6 clean sheets in 16 league appearances so far.
The Gambian was especially superb in the recent league match against AC Milan, where he kept Milan forwards Krzysztof Piatek and veteran star Zlatan Ibrahimovic silent, registering a goalless draw at the San Siro.
Since arriving last summer from Belgian side Genk, Colley has grown into an inevitable presence in the back for Sampdoria, making a total of 40 appearances across all competitions.
Meanwhile, Bruce’s Newcastle have suffered a major dip in form with problems in the backline going from bad to worse in recent times.
Despite having as many as five centre-backs in its ranks, the Magpies’ defence has been plagued by injuries. With Bruce constantly shuffling the defence, it has affected their rhythm.
Bruce has mainly relied on skipper Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar and veteran Federico Fernandez to carry out the defensive responsibilities. However, the three have failed to nail down a regular place as a result of persistent injuries.
Of the three, Lascelles and Schar are currently out due to respective injury problems, giving us a clear picture of Newcastle’s troubles in the defence. Main man Lascelles has missed a major portion of the season already, featuring in just 12 league games after sustaining a calf injury.
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Meanwhile, the rest of the two centre-backs – Ciaran Clark and Florian Lejeune – have been overlooked by the Magpies boss/
With Newcastle’s woes in defence clearly a cause of concern, it would do them the world of good if someone as consistent as Colley arrives at St. James Park.
The fact that he is quick and athletic would make him ideal for the Premier League, where the pace of the game is a little faster. Blessed with a powerful build, he could also be an intimidating presence at the back.
His average of 5.4 clearances per match gives a fair idea about his excellent defensive abilities and this could be of immense help to a shaky Newcastle defence.
Newcastle have not made a single new signing in the centre-back position this season and Colley’s arrival might instil some confidence into a backline that has looked totally devoid of it.
Also, with injuries remaining a major concern, Newcastle need a regular presence in the back to stabilize a defence that has already conceded too many goals. Hence, Newcastle making a move for Colley seems like a step in the right direction.