Why Newcastle Should Enhance Their Back Line With The Signing Of Kara Mbodji
Reports in Turkey claim Newcastle United are one of a number of English clubs interested in Senegal captain Kara Mbodji. Mbodji, 28, plays for Anderlecht in Belgium and has now emerged as a target for Newcastle United.
Barely a transfer window has gone by in recent years without the Anderlecht defender being linked to at least one English club – and the trend is set to continue in January. Mbodji, who could leave for £10m, might be one of the first arrivals in the winter transfer window. But do the Magpies really need him?
The Senegalese player had a big task cut out for him when he swapped Genk for Anderlecht in the summer of 2015. The towering defender was given the difficult task of replacing the departed Chancel Mbemba at the heart of Anderlecht’s backline. Mbemba, who now plays for Newcastle, was not only Anderlecht’s best defender but also arguably the stand-out centre-back across the entire league at that point.
Two years down, Anderlecht fans don’t miss Mbemba much as Mbodji has succeeded the Congolese very well. In fact, Mbodji has been better than Mbemba, helping Anderlecht to the title last season while reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League, where they bowed out eventually to winners Manchester United.
Newcastle are lying 11th in the Premier League table, having amassed 14 points in 12 games. Rafael Benitez’s men have blown hot and cold with their latest defeat coming at the hands of Manchester United right after the recent international break.
Apart from club captain Jamaal Lascelles, no other Newcastle centre-back – which includes the likes of Ciaran Clark, Florian Lejeune – has played every league game so far. This leaves Benitez in dilemma about whom to pair Lascelles with and it’s far from doubt who should partner the skipper at the heart of the defence. The much chopping and changing have not helped the Magpies either, as they were stung at stoppage-time in their recent game against Bournemouth.
This gives one a clear idea that Benitez needs a commanding centre-back to play week in and week out with Lascelles. The English centre-half has been Newcastle’s best player and has been a rock at the back for them. He certainly needs help from his fellow defenders and Mbodji could be the one.
Mbodji, who has 56 caps for Senegal, is a powerful and aggressive centre-back renowned for his strength in the air. The defender, who stands at a little over 6 feet, can play as a holding midfielder but he has played as a centre-back since moving to Belgium in 2013. In fact, he also scored an injury-time winner as Senegal sealed a 2-1 victory over South Africa in Dakar last week to make sure of their place at the World Cup.
We will have to wait until January to see what budget Benitez will have to work since it all depends on whether a proposed takeover of Mike Ashley’s shareholding completes by then. If that happens, Benitez will be happy to know that Mbodji available only at £10m.
Come January, Benitez should go for Mbodji would only enhance a Newcastle back line.