Who is reported Newcastle and Sunderland target Papy Djilobodji?

Both North East clubs have been linked with a move for FC Nantes powerful centre-back.

Reports in France this morning from Mercato365 are suggesting that after this weekend’s Wear-Tyne derby, Sunderland and Newcastle United will again do battle this summer, but this time it will be for the signature of FC Nantes defender Papy Djilobodji.

The 26-year-old Senegalese defender is under contract until 2016, but looks likely to make a move away from the Pays-Loire club this summer. Interest in his services was shown during the January window, but as Nantes were unable to bring in cover due to working under a transfer embargo, no-one was allowed to leave Les Canaris.

Nantes had a great start to the current campaign and had the best defensive record in France before the Africa Cup of Nations. With their captain away, Nantes lost twice, showing the importance of Djilobodji’s physical presence.

He is quick across the ground, dominant in the air and usually positions himself well to make over 227 clearances this season. Nantes’ full-backs have sometimes left him exposed, but put him in a stronger team and the physical nature of the Premier League could see him improve even further.

According to WhoScored, only two defenders have averaged more clearances than the reported North East target.

With his contract up in the summer of 2016, and Djilobodji playing the best football of his career, this would be the perfect time for Nantes to cash in and look to replace him in the summer.

His pace and physical presence should suit the Premier League perfectly, and they would be getting a defender in the prime of his career, and certainly one that is only looking to get better.

Djilobodji adapted to life in Ligue 1 very quickly and there is nothing to say that for either Newcastle United or Sunderland, he couldn’t become an excellent Premier League centre-back.

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