Newcastle are reportedly eyeing a deal for Christopher Jullien, but they’d be much better served making a surprise swoop for Sunderland man Papy Djilobodji.
According to Yahoo Sport (via GFFN), both Newcastle and Southampton have “approached the entourage” of Toulouse centre back Jullien, and the player has decided he wants to move on from the French club this summer.
The 25 year-old was extremely impressive last season, and Rafael Benitez is expected to pursue another central defender this summer, with Jamaal Lascelles and Florian Lejeune his only really reliable choices for that position.
Although Jullien has turned into quite the defender since he was linked with a move to the Premier League last summer, Djilobodji blows him out of the water in practically every statistical category.
The towering 29 year-old joined Chelsea in 2015, but after failing to break into the team at Stamford Bridge joined Sunderland in the summer of 2016, and is now on loan with Dijon.
The Black Cats need to sell before they can buy, and what better way for Mike Ashley to win some fans over than to use that fact to swindle a bargain from their twice relegated rivals.
Djilobodji was poor for Sunderland, but the Black Cats were playing some truly torrid football and he was part of an incredibly unorganised defence.
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Since moving back to France to join Dijon on loan, he has gone from strength to strength, averaging 6.7 clearances per game, the third most of any player in Ligue 1. For reference, Jullien averages 5.9, while Lascelles boasts an incredible seven clearances per game.
The 13-cap Senegal man is also in the top ten in Ligue 1 for both interceptions (2.4 per game) and blocks (0.8 per game). Once again, both of these numbers are superior to Jullien.
The Toulouse man is younger and thus has more room to improve, but the Magpies already have their first choice partnership with Lascelles and Lejeune, so the experienced Djilobodji could be the perfect third option.
So, Newcastle fans, which Ligue 1 centre back would you prefer? Let us know by voting in the poll below…