The rumor mill is already up and running surrounding Newcastle in the weeks following it Championship victory. Manager Rafa Benitez is starting to turn some heads with the names being thrown out as transfer targets.
Top of that list appears to be Eliaquim Mangala, the center back from Manchester City who is currently on loan with Valencia.
Adding a player of his caliber would be a fantastic add for Newcastle, especially with the concerns the club has had about the future of the position. With question marks surrounding Chancel Mbemba and Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle likely need to add a new center back. At 26 years old, Mangala would be an immediate improvement and a long-term solution.
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Mangala has played 28 games in La Liga this season. He started 47 matches during two season at Manchester City. He has Champions League experience with City and Porto. He is a powerful header, a crafty passer on occasion, but most importantly, he is a ball winner. His athleticism is clear as well. The talent is there.
One knock is that he walks the line of being too aggressive, sometimes crossing it. Mangala has 11 yellow cards and a red card this season. For reference, Lascelles had just six yellows in 41 appearances for the Magpies this year. That aggressiveness tends to lead to unforced errors as well.
The Frenchman arrived at City in 2014 for a staggering £42 million. However, with Mangala clearly out of favor on loan at Valencia, the price tag for him should be considerably lower. If Newcastle manages to land Mangala for a decent price, which I think would probably be around £15 million, maybe slightly more, this could be a great way to start the makeover that many feel Newcastle needs to stay up during its return to the Premier League.
Mangala will be the first of many linked with a move to Tyneside. Hopefully, more quality players like him will continue to be the subjects of these rumors.