ALAN Pardew wants to reshape his back four over the summer after growing frustrated with the away-day collapses that cost Newcastle United Champions League football.
The Journal can reveal that the United boss is lobbying for cover at both full-back slots along with a strong, experienced centre-back to improve the aerial presence of his back line.
United have made a tentative enquiry about Manchester United youngster Ezekiel Fryers, who can play left-back and centre-back – and The Journal understands that Newcastle scouts have also run the rule over Lorient defender Bruno Ecuélé Manga.
Fryers is the latest United player to employ agents to assess his options away from Old Trafford and Newcastle were alerted to his availability last month. It remains to be seen whether they follow up their tentative interest with a formal offer.
And Ecuélé Manga is an option for United if they fail to land top target Douglas, who will be available for transfer at the end of the Dutch Eredivisie season. Juventus are also tracking the Brazilian defender, who has moved to the top of United’s hit-list after Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen expressed his desire for Champions League football next season.
Ecuélé Manga shares an agent with Lille right-back Mathieu Debuchy, who is being earmarked for the right-back role next season if Newcastle can agree a deal before the European Championships.
The 23-year-old is a Gabon international who stands 6ft 1ins – and would be available for a fee within United’s budget.
The Journal understands United, who are looking to make a minimum of three additions to the squad this summer, want to get their business done early in the summer.
And they have also circulated the names of Danny Simpson and Leon Best with the intention of moving them on quickly to facilitate more movement in their squad.