Newcastle United’s search for a Cheick Tiote replacement may already be over after the club was linked with a move for Senegal international Kara Mbodji.
Tiote has been ruled out for the rest of the season through knee injury and with several big sides linked with summer bids for the 28-year-old, those behind the scenes at St James’ Park are already looking to bring in a replacement.
Mbodji may be the closest Newcastle get to finding a player capable of filling the void, with the 25-year-old currently impressing with Genk in Belgium.
Capable of playing as a centre-back or defensive midfielder, Mbodji’s versatility makes him hot transfer property with the likes of West Ham also keen on a move for the Senegalese star.
Part of the Lions of Teranga squad that competed in the men’s football event at the London Olympics three years ago – facing off against Great Britain in the group phase – Mbodji has several notable facets to his game.
Here’s the good, the bad and the brilliant of this potential Newcastle addition.
Picked to represent Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea earlier this year, Mbodji used the tournament to not only demonstrate his defensive capabilities but also his aerial prowess both in his own box and that of his opposition.
He was duly rewarded with a fine headed goal against South Africa and though the national side may have failed to escape from the ‘Group of Death’ this goal goes someway to showcasing what Newcastle fans can expect from Mbodji when it comes to set-plays.
Tiote is no stranger to a rash challenge and the consequences that usually follow, as anyone who recalls his sending off against local rivals Sunderland will duly note.
However Mbodji showcased a sneakier side to his game during a Belgian league clash with Anderlecht earlier this year.
Getting up from a challenge involving striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, the midfielder was captured planting his studs on the left ankle of the Serb and a red card duly followed.
Arguably Tiote’s finest hour in a Magpies shirt came during that famous 4-4 fight back against Arsenal a few years back, with the Ivorian levelling the scores with an absolute screamer.
And though somewhat less prolific, Mbodji certainly has a rocket of a right foot, as this goal for Genk duly demonstrates.
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