Forget Chancel Mbemba, is Ciaran Clark the Newcastle defender Celtic need?

Celtic fans show their support during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Celtic FC and Bayern Muenchen at Celtic Park on October 31, 2017 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Scottish Premiership champions Celtic are reportedly looking at Newcastle United's Chancel Mbemba as they eye defensive reinforcements.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is seen during a training session at Lennoxtown Training Centre on April 27, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Erik Sviatchenko has gone, Marvin Compper has barely arrived while Jozo Simunovic, Dedryck Boyata and Jack Hendry all came in for extensive criticism in the last few months. It’s fair to say that a new centre-back is needed at Celtic, then.

And, according to The Chronicle, The Hoops are interested in Chancel Mbemba, the 23-year-old defender who Newcastle United will listen to offers for this summer.

Newcastle United's Congolese defender Chancel Mbemba (R) holds up Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard (L) during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and...

The Congolese talent, who Newcastle paid £8 million for in 2015 but who is valued at around £3 million now, has plenty of potential – but it should not be ignored that he has barely started a game since Rafa Benitez took over on Tyneside in March 2016.

So perhaps Celtic would be better off targeting the other centre-back that Newcastle might be willing to sell this summer – Ciaran Clark.

Ayoze Perez of Newcastle United celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mate Ciaran Clark during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Newcastle United and Luton Town at St...

The Republic of Ireland is older at 28 but featured far more regularly for Newcastle last season, making 19 starts to Mbemba’s seven. And he was one of the standout players in 2016/17 as The Magpies won the Championship title while Mbemba was once again glued to the bench.

So while the former Anderlecht man Mbemba would arrive with his fair share of doubters, Clark would appear a safer bet and a man who could walk straight into Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch