Aston Villa's Neil Taylor explains how close he came to Newcastle move

A dejected Rafael Benitez the manager

Newcastle United nearly signed Wales international Neil Taylor when he was still playing at Swansea City.

Neil Taylor of Aston Villa during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Norwich City at Villa Park on April 1, 2017 in Birmingham, England.

Neil Taylor has admitted that Newcastle United triggered his buyout clause in 2011 only for Brendan Rodgers to convince the Welshman to stay at Swansea City instead, speaking to the On The Bish podcast.

Taylor had played a key role as Swansea were promoted to the Premier League in the top flight at the end of the 2010/11 season before establishing himself as one of the more reliable full-backs in the top flight during an impressive debut season.

But everything could have been different if he had taken the chance to join Newcastle instead.

 

Taylor admits that he was on the verge of a switch to St James’ Park eight years ago and even travelled to Tyneside for talks, only to be talked into staying at the Liberty Stadium by then Swans’ boss Rodgers.

"Of course you're tempted. They triggered my buyout clause I think, which was £1 million at the time,” said Taylor, who now plays in the Championship for Aston Villa.

"I went up there, looked at the stadium. Like when I came to Villa Park I was just a bit like 'Wow, this is a big football club'. The training ground, everything.

"The thing was Brendan Rodgers was actually up Kilimanjaro at the time doing a charity thing so his phone was out of range. I waited until he got back and then we sat down and had a chat and stuff.

Neil Taylor of Aston Villa passes the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa at Loftus Road on October 26, 2018 in London, England.

"He just promised me. He said 'Listen, you're part of my plans, you're going to play next season for us in the Premier League and I think you're best being here playing and see what comes after that'.”

Eight years on, left-back is still a problem position for Newcastle. Converted wide man Matt Ritchie has often played in a left-wing-back role in recent months with Antonio Barreca, a January loan signing from Monaco, failing to make any sort of an impact under Rafa Benitez.

Antonio Barreca during his first interview at the Newcastle United Training Centre on January 30, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

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