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Why This 31-year Old Defender Should Snub West Brom For Newcastle United In Search Of Regular Game time

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Why Yuto Nagatomo Should Join Newcastle United Rather Than Burnley And West Brom

Inter Milan left-back Yuto Nagatomo is a wanted man in the Premier League. The 31-year old is a target for as many as three Premier League clubs for the upcoming January transfer window, with Burnley, Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion all interested in his services, as per reports from the Transfer Market Web (h/t talkSPORT). 

The Japanese left-back is in his 8th season with the Nerrazzurri and has a contract until the summer of 2019. But, he is reportedly looking for an exit from the club and as a result, he has put talks of a new deal on hold, which has alerted the English clubs over a possible move for the player.  

With all the three clubs wanting to move for Nagatomo, we analyse which team could potentially prove to be the best destination for the Japan international.

Burnley are impressing everyone with their performances, especially taking into factor their limited summer transfer budget. The Clarets are enjoying a fine start to the season, that sees them sitting at 7th place in the Premier League table after 8 games. 

Sean Dyche has done extremely well with whatever options and budget he has had to work with and has shown good acumen and management skills to get his team in the position that they are. They have a pretty settled line-up, with decent backup options for every position. Coming to the left-back area, they have Stephen Ward as their first-choice, who has been performing admirably so far this season. He has been one of their best and most consistent players.  

As backup, they have the young and the talented Charlie Taylor, who they signed in the summer from Championship side Leeds United for free. The 23-year old might not be getting a lot of playing time, but is a player with great ability. He will be the natural heir to Ward’s position, which leaves little to no space for Nagatomo to come in at the Turf Moor.  

Newcastle United too have turned heads with their performances, after a slow start to their return season in the Premier League. Under the guidance of Rafael Benitez, the Magpies seem to be headed in the right direction, as they occupy 9th place in the league table following last weekend’s action. And with the sale of the club on the horizon, there will be funds available for the club to spend in the coming transfer windows.  

The left-back position has been somewhat of a concern area for the Magpies this season, mostly due to the injury to regular choice Paul Dummett as early as the first game of the season. Benitez has had to juggle his options in the position, having fielded the likes of Chancel Mbemba, Jesus Gamez and Javi Manquillo as left-sided full-backs. While none of them have fared badly, the manager would want a more accomplished option at his disposal. 

And given the concerns in some circles over Dummett’s ability to be a Premier League quality player, a new left-back would be a welcome addition to the St. James’ Park.  

As far as West Brom are concerned, Tony Pulis’ side continue to be there and thereabouts in the middle of the table, as has been the case in recent years. The Baggies currently sit 10th in the league standings following their 1-1 draw against Leicester City on Monday night. However, the club would be intent on going up a notch higher and challenge for the Europa League spots come the end of the season. 

West Brom were keen on adding a left-back to their ranks all summer and finally got their man in Kieran Gibbs from Arsenal. And given how Pulis likes to stick to his personnel in the backline and not tinker with the players too often, there wouldn’t be too much scope for rotation. Even then, Pulis has the likes of Chris Brunt and Allan Nyom along with captain Jonny Evans, who he has entrusted to fill in at left-back in time of need. So a new signing in that position wouldn’t be much of a priority at the Hawthorns as well. 

All things considered, Nagatomo has the best chances of playing regularly if he moves to Newcastle United, than to Burnley or West Bromwich Albion, where he will have tougher competition to force a way through into the starting XI. Given Dummett’s injury and doubts over his quality, combined with the lack of a natural backup in the position means that a move to St. James’ Park would prove to be mutually beneficial for both the club and the player.