Report: Newcastle United and Celtic go head-to-head for Ghanaian international Rashid Sumaila

Celtic managers Brendan Rodgers reacts after winning the Betfred League Cup during the Betfred League Cup Final between Celtic and Motherwell at Hampden Park on November 26, 2017 in...

Rashid Sumaila's fine form for Kuwaiti outfit Al Qadsia has interested Newcastle United and Celtic amongst others.

Dutch forward Arjen Robben (L) argues with Ghanian defender Rashid Sumaila during the friendly football match Netherlands vs Ghana at the Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on May...

Until recently, the centre of defence appeared to be on area that Newcastle United did not need to strengthen in the January transfer window.

That was before The Magpies conceded seven goals in their last two Premier League games, however, a feeble defensive performance against Manchester United preceeding a 3-0 home defeat to Watford that had Alan Shearer seething and supporters fretting of an alarming drop down the table.

It is maybe no coincidence, then, that Football Ghana is now reporting that Rashid Sumaila has emerged as a target for Newcastle ahead of the January transfer window. The Ghanaian international centre-half, who plays for Kuwait side Al Qadsia, is one of the top defenders in African football and has attracted interest from a number of English sides.

Netherlands' defender Ron Vlaar Ron Vlaar (R) vies with Ghana's defender Rashid Sumaila during the international friendly football match Netherlands against Ghana on May 31, 2014  at the...

The report adds that Newcastle will have competition from Scottish champions Celtic, who are understood to have made a new defender their top priority in the New Year.

Brendan Rodgers’ side have struggled with injuries at the back this season with central midfielder Nir Bitton forced to drop into the back four far too often.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers applauds the home fans at the final whistle as the team equal a 100 year old record of 62 games unbeaten during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match...

And the aggressive Sumaila, who has six caps for his country, is understood to have come into contention. Rodgers told the Daily Record when signing Ivorian midfielder Kouassi Eboue from Krasnodar in January that he was keen to delve further into the African market and he tap into it again with Sumaila on his radar.

The 24-year-old is the latest highly-rated Ghanaian to be linked with Celtic in recent months after speculation surrounding strikers Majeed Waris, Richmond Boakye and Patrick Twumasi.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch