Newcastle have a real injury crisis in defence - could Benoit Assou-Ekotto help them?
Newcastle United boss John Carver confirmed to The Chronicle today that the club are considering signing a free agent defender to ease their recent injury crisis.
Steven Taylor and Paul Dummett are already on the sidelines, and now left back Massadio Haidara has suffered a knee injury, which should rule him out of Wednesday's clash with Manchester United.
"It is unfortunate the way things have happened," said Carver. "The only way you can deal with it is if you go into the out of contract market. And that might be an option we might have to look down but not at the moment."
If Newcastle do look to bring in a free agent, they will find a very narrow market of players to choose from, with former Everton defender Joseph Yobo probably the pick of the bunch in central defence.
Yet with Haidara injured and Davide Santon out on loan at Inter Milan, a left back could be on Carver's agenda - and one name sticks out from the crowd.
Cameroon international Benoit Assou-Ekotto was frozen out at Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino this season, before Spurs chose to terminate his contract on deadline day last month.
Assou-Ekotto is far from a bad player, but was third choice at White Hart Lane behind Danny Rose and Ben Davies, so it made sense or Tottenham to release him - but that doesn't mean he is finished in the Premier League.
Now a free agent, the 30-year-old will be looking for a new club, and having played for Cameroon at last summer's World Cup, he still has plenty to offer, with experience and an attacking outlet on the left hand side of defence.
The London Evening Standard reported earlier today that Roma are interested in signing him, but staying in the Premier League may be appealing to Assou-Ekotto if Newcastle come calling; which they should, considering this spate of injuries.
On a short-term contract until the end of the season, Assou-Ekotto would offer experience and much-needed cover for the injured Haidara - something that Carver may well need in the run-in to the end of the season as he bids to land the managerial job on a permanent basis.