Rafa bowled over by £40K-a-wk PL ace who's been relegated, he'd be brilliant Newcastle signing

COMMENT By Richard Parks

West Brom defender Craig Dawson would be an excellent summer signing for Newcastle United.

Little wonder the Magpies are in hot pursuit of a no-frills defender who has been one of the shining lights in wretched campaign for the Baggies that will end in relegation following Southampton’s win over Swansea City on Tuesday night.

As revealed by Football Insider, the defender is now on Rafael Benitez’s wanted list for next season as he prepares for another season of Premier League football.

The 28-year-old has really come to the fore in recent weeks since being given a regular start in central defence by Darren Moore and his stellar form has coincided with a late rally from West Brom that ultimately did not prove enough to avoid relegation.

Dawson has started the last five games in central defence since Moore’s appointment as manager and he has helped West Brom go unbeaten in those five games and also secure three clean sheets.

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United’s recruitment team and manager Benitez were hugely impressed by Dawson during last month’s 1-0 defeat to West Brom at St James’ Park.

Dawson, who was used primarily at right-back by Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew this season, has made nine starts in central defence this term and in those games he helped the team keep five clean sheets and pick up five wins, three draws and just one defeat.

Newcastle are in need of a new centre-back, although they will need to be quick off the mark given the interest in Dawson.

His price tag – a fee of £15million has been touted – and salary that statistics site Spotrac claim is worth £40,000-a-week make him an affordable option, and a good one.

Benitez might need to push owner Mike Ashley hard to get the deal done, but it would be worth it.

In other Newcastle United news, a BBC pundit has drooled over an “outstanding player” in the team destroyed by the Toon faithful all season.

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