Report: Newcastle United in pole position for transfer of Cameroon captain Nicolas Nkoulou, rivals interested

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Newcastle United have been linked with Nicolas Nkoulou, with Aston Villa and Sunderland also interested.

Newcastle United are in a strong position to sign Marseille defender Nicolas Nkoulou, report The Times.

Nkoulou is the Cameroon international captain, and has been with the Ligue 1 side since 2011, racking up more than 150 appearances.

Steve McClaren is still searching for Newcastle's first summer signing, with the club set to travel to Switzerland for their pre-season training camp at the weekend.

Nkoulou, 25, is wanted by French side Lyon, but The Times report that Marseille are determined not to sell to a rival.

The centre-back has only one year left on his contract, putting Marcelo Bielsa's side in a weak negotiating position, prepared to make him available at £7 million.

He has 60 international caps for Cameroon, and was linked by Talksport 12 months ago with a move to Arsenal.

The Times report Sunderland and Aston Villa are also currently interested in battling Newcastle for his signature.

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Newcastle United are in real need of upgrading their defensive options. Nkoulou would be a significant improvement on Mike Williamson, while Fabricio Coloccini is no longer seen as a long term answer for the club.

While there is a real desire to make a statement by bringing in a marquee attacking signing like Aleksandar Mitrovic or Georgino Wijnaldum, a deal to sign Nkoulou could be equally important.

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