Newcastle face a daunting start to the new Premier League season, so it is entirely possible that they could find themselves on the back foot by the middle of September, though the continued presence of Rafael Benitez in their dugout can only be a good thing.
Martin Dubravka, Ki Sung-Yeung, Kenedy, Fabian Schär, Yoshinori Muto and Salomon Rondon have all been added to the Magpies’ squad this summer, but the serious knee injury suffered by Florian Lejeune means that they remain on the lookout for another centre-half.
Step forward Christopher Jullien if the latest media reports are to be believed, with the giant Toulouse stopper thought to be a prime target for the North East outfit as transfer deadline day fast approaches.
In partnership with Issa Diop, now a West Ham player after joining Manuel Pellegrini’s men for £22m, the 25-year-old played a key role as his 13th-placed side boasted a defensive record that was only bettered by the top three finishers in Ligue 1 back in 2016/17:
Toulouse kept 11 top-flight clean sheets in the 35 games in which Jullien featured during that season, adding a further nine in his 30 matches last time around, whilst he also managed to weigh in with five goals across those two campaigns.
Previously linked with Southampton, Crystal Palace and Burnley, the powerful defender was part of a team that narrowly avoided relegation to Ligue 2 in 2017/18, though his tally of shutouts still equalled that put up by Jamaal Lascelles in the Premier League:
|DEF 25Y 4M 6FT 5IN||DEF 24Y 8M 6FT 2IN|
Jun 2017 - Jun 2018
Goals with feet
Goals with head
Minutes per goal against
Given his height, it comes as no surprise to learn that the 25-year-old is a force to be reckoned with in the air, though his ability to read the game and play the ball out from the back represents further strings to the €10m-rated centre-half’s bow.
The Acca Smacker
For fans across the continent, the excitement is building. A new season is here and optimism is rife. Will new signings stun? Will titles be won? Everyone hopes, but nobody knows. Domestic football’s back, and we could be happier.
KickOff’s unique Acca Smacker is also making a timely return, bringing you Predictions, Form Streaks and Form Stats for every market, every match and every top competition. We’ve made building a winning bet so easy it feels like cheating, so why not have a go below and give those bookies a bashing?