Throughout the summer it has been reported that Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce wants another centre-back.
After the 4-2 defeat to West Ham on Sunday, it would be hard to argue otherwise.
Just like the end of last season, Bruce went with five at the back. He had his two makeshift wing-backs, and a centre-back trio of Emil Krafth, Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark.
It was far from inspiring, and disappointingly we weren’t proven wrong.
Krafth has never been a centre-back. At best he’s an average right-back. So how he’s starting Premier League games at the heart of defence is anyone’s guess. Fernandez is solid in the middle – a leader but with limited pace. As for Clark, he had a poor game and is also lacking in speed.
Time and time again we were caught out on Sunday, with West Ham’s fluid front four causing endless problems.
Meanwhile, Jamaal Lascelles and Fabian Schar were sat on the bench, with Paul Dummett also missing due to injury.
You could make a case for all three to start. But one thing is for sure – we definitely need a new centre-back before the transfer window closes.
Newcastle must sign a new centre-back
According to the Athletic, bringing in a new centre-back is now our top priority.
We’ve already seen multiples targets pass us by, such as Kristoffer Ajer, William Saliba and Axel Tuanzebe.
Whoever we sign needs to be much quicker, and needs to be confident in possession. When you look at our centre-backs, Schar is the only one capable of picking a pass.
And that’s a major concern considering we seemed so intent on starting from deep against West Ham.
Speed is an important attribute. Our lack of pace killed us at the back and in midfield. It was an imbalanced team that look dangerous on the break – but that’s about it.
Steve Bruce has reportedly wanted a new centre-back all summer, and it’s clear why. But as always, it looks as though Newcastle will be leaving it late to do their business.