Andy Townsend indicates the main position Newcastle need to strengthen in January

Andy Townsend claims Newcastle must sign a central defender this month.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Andy Townsend has indicated that centre half is the main position which Newcastle need to strengthen this January transfer window.

When asked which position Newcastle need to strengthen, Townsend said: “A centre-half. They need one of those definitely.”

The Magpies are in the midst of a relegation battle, and Steve McClaren has already been working hard to strengthen his side in the early stages of the transfer window.

Henri Saivet has been signed, Jonjo Shelvey is set to follow suit, and it is clear that the head coach has seen a weakness in his midfield.

Saivet brings strength and leadership to the side, whilst Shelvey will add a deep-lying creative threat, and after their arrivals McClaren needs to look elsewhere in his squad for areas that need improvement.

For Townsend, the main area that McClaren needs to improve is the centre of defence, with the Magpies looking extremely fragile all season. Chancel Mbemba has been a solid signing, but Fabricio Coloccini is far past his best, and a new centre-half should be brought to Tyneside to replace the ageing Argentine.

Considering the poor performances of Coloccini, it is a surprise that McClaren looked to bring in midfielders ahead of centre-backs, but it would be no surprise to see Newcastle now going all out to sign a new leader for the back-line during the remainder of this month.

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