Steve Bruce is spoilt for choice when it comes to centre backs, however, if the club are wanting to push away from relegation battles then they could do with signing defenders that are comfortable on the ball.
Someone like Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer could be ideal, especially if he turns out like Virgil van Dijk, and that’s what Steve Howey is hoping will happen.
Ajer has long been linked with Newcastle United but they have always had competition to sign the contract rebel at Celtic from the likes of Bayern Leverkusen and Norwich City, and with just one year left on his current deal it could be a smart signing for any side.
The Magpies have Fabian Schar and Florian Lejeune who are both comfortable bringing the ball out of defence but with the latter set to be sold this summer, Ajer would be an ideal replacement for a bargain price of £12 million.
Ajer is similar to Van Dijk in many ways with both of them impressing at Celtic and ultimately using the club as a springboard into the Premier League, and they both are very comfortable and willing to drive into midfield.
To sign someone anywhere near as good as the Dutchman would be a huge bonus for Newcastle according to Howey, who spoke exclusively to Football FanCast:
“Well, if he ever turns out to be something like Van Dijk then we will have done absolutely brilliant and he’s a decent player. But I just think about the budget and how much the manager has been given to spend, although I do think that strength in depth is going to be important.”
There has been fresh reports in the last 24 hours that Norwich are now the frontrunners to sign the Celtic defender with the Canaries having £33 million on top of their original transfer budget to spend this summer after selling Emiliano Buendia.
If Ajer was to end up at St James’ Park then he would certainly be a starter under Steve Bruce if he was to play with three centre backs as it would make the Magpies a much more attacking side if one of their defenders could glide into midfield and change the game.