Newcastle United look set to raid the French transfer market once again as they seek a replacement for Fabricio Coloccini, according to The Mirror.
The Argentine skipper is set to return to his homeland at the end of this season and Alan Pardew has identified his replacement - Lille defender Aurelien Chedjou.
Chedjou, a Cameroon international, currently plies his trade in Ligue 1 and would cost around £12m should the Magpies firm up their interest. But Pardew must move fast to secure his top transfer target, as the St. James' Park outfit face stiff competition from Valencia for the player's signature.
A move for Chedjou would come as no surprise, as Newcastle continue to scour the French leagues for top talent - a decision that has revitalised Pardew's side since January as they look odds-on to avoid the drop following a number of astute acquisitions. The likes of Moussa Sissoko, Yoann Gouffran and Mathieu Debuchy have all bolstered Pardew's squad as they continue to re-build for next season.
Chedjou has impressed in France this season and has built a strong partnership with Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong in the Cameroon national team. He has also expressed his desire to play in England and believes he can be as good as some of our biggest names.
Speaking to France Football, Chedjou said: "I don't want to sound pretentious, but I feel ready to join a top European team. Then it will be up to me to make a name for myself there.
"I am ambitious but I am not saying that I am a (Nemanja) Vidic, Rio Ferdinand or John Terry, who have proved a lot and are older than me. I can dream and say I believe I can be as good as them.
"I have always wanted to play in England. There are great players there and you play at a high level.
"I won't say it is my dream and if I don't find a club there I will refuse another country. There are other attractive destinations, such as Germany, Spain, three or four Italian clubs and maybe Turkey."
Responding to reports the 27-year-old could be on the move when the transfer window re-opens, he added: "A summer departure? Starting speculation is not my style.
"If at the end of the season I am told the club want to bring young players through and I get a good offer for myself and the club, that will present an opportunity to leave on good terms. That is what I want.
"We agreed with the club officials last summer that if I enjoyed a good season and there was an offer which would benefit everyone, I could leave."
Is he the right man to replace Coloccini? Or should Newcastle be more ambitious in the transfer market and look to established Premier League stars? Have your say below.
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