Newcastle United have reportedly held talks with Marseille to sign Duje Caleta-Car should they fail to land top defensive target Diego Carlos.

According to 90 min, Newcastle United are interested in signing Marseille centre-back Duje Caleta-Car if they fail in their long-standing pursuit of Diego Carlos amid dragging talks with Sevilla. The Magpies are keen on signing a central defender, and the 25-year-old Croatian international has emerged as an option with just 18 months left on his deal.

Newcastle have been desperately pushing for central defensive reinforcements since sealing a deal for Kieran Trippier earlier this month. But with Lille ruling out selling Sven Botman this month and the pursuit of AS Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile impacted by an injury to the player, the Magpies turned all their attention towards their new primary target, Sevilla’s Carlos.

However, things have become complicated with Sevilla playing hardball over the transfer fee. The Magpies remain in talks with the La Liga club but are yet to reach a breakthrough after already agreeing personal terms with the player. As a result, Newcastle are considering a late move for Marseille defender Duje Caleta-Car as a potential backup to Diego Carlos.

Caleta-Car joined the Ligue 1 club from Red Bull Salzburg in 2018 and has been a regular feature in recent years. The Croat is into his fourth season with Marseille and has made over 100 competitive appearances. However, the 25-year-old made a rocky start to the season and did not feature in any of Les Phoceens’ opening six league games. It appeared he was out of favour under manager Jorge Sampaoli.

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But the 25-year-old has since come back into the fold and has been regularly playing alongside Arsenal loanee William Saliba at the heart of Marseille’s defence that has conceded just 16 goals after 20 games. No Ligue 1 side has shipped in fewer goals or kept more clean sheets than Les Phoceens (10).

Caleta-Car is not a new name in the English market. The 25-year-old was the subject of serious interest from West Ham United and Liverpool last summer, although a move never materialised. While the Hammers are still keeping track of his situation and can plot a move later in the window, it seems cash-rich Newcastle have thrown their hat into the ring to sign Marseille’s star defender.

Newcastle’s defensive numbers this term make for grim reading. While they have conceded the second-highest number of goals in the league, their backline is also gifting leads away in crucial moments through big individual errors. Their current central defensive roster is ageing, fragile and vulnerable.

Signing someone experienced like Caleta-Car could be a really solid option for the Magpies, especially as he will be available on a loan with an option-to-buy deal. The Croat is a classic centre-back known for his strength, aerial ability and aggressiveness. But he also possesses modern attributes such as ball control, quickness, and versatility.

At the age of just 25, he has over 250 competitive appearances under his belt and has consistently performed at the highest level. He could be an excellent operator at the back for Newcastle and would bring composure and boost their defensive organisation. But with less than ten days remaining for the transfer window to slam shut, Newcastle will need to pull off the deal quickly.

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