Newcastle United may be on course to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking, but it’s been by no means the dominant Championship promotion campaign many expected back in August.
A defeat to Sheffield Wednesday last weekend has moved the Magpies down to second place and although Rafa Benitez already has a vast and talented squad at his disposal, it appears he’ll need further recruits to guarantee Newcastle can stay in the top flight.
In recent weeks, centre-back has proved a bit of a problem position for Newcastle, with Jamaal Lascelles, Chancel Mbemba, Grant Hanley and Ciaran Clark filling in there without particularly excelling. Perhaps as a consequence, The Independent claim Benitez is already eyeing up a potential solution in Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross.
Shawcross is easily amongst the most experienced and proven defenders in the Premier League these days, now into his ninth top flight campaign with the Potters, and has been in decent form once again this season.
As our infographic shows, he’s a real no-nonsense defender, producing a wealth of blocks and clearances and winning over 100 aerial duels. Of course, centre-backs are inevitably judged upon the mistakes they make, but just two is pretty good going after 29 appearances – especially considering Shawcross has spent some of the campaign out injured.
With just a year remaining on his current deal, the potential is certainly there to whisk the 29-year-old away from the Bet365 Stadium this summer. Would you back a deal for Shawcross? Let us know by voting below!