Newcastle United are reportedly set to launch an approach for the signing of Japanese defender Maya Yoshida from Serie A outfit Sampdoria.

According to a report from Tutto Mercato Web, Newcastle United’s search for defensive reinforcements has taken them to Serie A outfit Sampdoria as they plot a January move for veteran centre-back Maya Yoshida.

The 33-year-old defender is well-known for his eight-year stint with Southampton in England. Having joined the Saints in 2012 from Dutch club VVV Venlo, Yoshida was at St Mary’s till last year and played an important role in helping the South Coast club establish themselves as a proper Premier League outfit.

After close to 200 appearances for Southampton, Yoshida joined Sampdoria in January 2020, initially on a loan deal, before making the transfer permanent six months later. The Japanese international quickly developed into a key member of the team for the Blucerchiati and has already featured 64 times for the club, scoring three goals in the process.

Yoshida’s contract with Sampdoria runs out at the end of the season, which has led to speculations over his future. And, Newcastle United have been credited with an interest in the 33-year-old centre-back ahead of the January transfer window.

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The Magpies find themselves entrenched in the relegation battle as they occupy second-place from bottom in the Premier League. The Tyneside outfit boasts the worst defensive record in the competition this season, having already shipped in as many as 41 goals from just 18 matches.

None of the defenders on the club’s books are performing well enough, while the lack of a centre-back who possesses good recovery pace and ball-playing abilities has been felt on many occasions this season. It goes without saying that the Magpies could do with an upgrade in the position as they look to stave off the threat of relegation and stay up in the top-flight.

It has led to links with several defenders – high-profile targets like Sven Botman who cannot be enticed to join because of the club’s plight, proven English defenders like Ben Mee and James Tarkowski, who are playing for a direct relegation rival and, as a result, are unlikely to arrive.

As a result, they now seem to have turned their focus towards Yoshida and are ready to make an approach for the Japanese star. While he has plenty of experience in England and has performed ably since signing for Sampdoria, the 33-year-old does not necessarily seem like a major upgrade on the options available at Eddie Howe’s disposal. So, it will certainly be interesting to see Newcastle press ahead with their pursuit of the ex-Saints ace.

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