Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Magpies Keep Tabs on Ajax's Skipper

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Magpies Keep Tabs on Ajax's Skipper

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER

NEWCASTLE UNITED are understood to remain in the hunt for Ajax skipper Jan Vertonghen - and it is expected that Toon talent spotters will again run the rule over the big Belgian tonight.

The Chronicle has learned through sources in Holland that Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City scouts will also again be in the stands tonight at Old Trafford for the second leg of the Europa League tie.

There were plenty of interested parties, with Bayern Munich and Arsenal also keen, in the stands for last week's 2-0 win for Man United at the Amsterdam ArenA and Newcastle are still thought to have the player on their radar.

The 6ft 3in star, still just 24, is keen on a move to the Premier League and his appearance in the North West tonight in Ajax's Europa League tie with the Red Devils has prompted the assembly of a clutch of top-flight talent spotters - including the Magpies.

The Belgian defender is all but certain to quit the Dutch Eredivisie club following a poor season for the iconic former Champions League winners, with Ajax off the pace in the Dutch top flight when it comes to European slots.

Vertonghen is certain to be inundated with offers at the end of the season, but Newcastle could offer him the chance to be one of the true leaders of their side rather than the role of squad player elsewhere.

Fabricio Coloccini's long-term future remains uncertain and United are hardly well stocked when it comes to experienced centre-backs, with manager Alan Pardew knowing that he is just an injury away from a defensive crisis in the heart of his back four, with Mike Williamson and Coloccini key between now and the end of the season.

Pardew has already stated that Steven Taylor will not play again this term, and while the former England Under-21 star will be back for pre-season and raring to go, United must address the cover issue in the centre-back department. …

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