Why Newcastle should reignite interest in Koray Gunter next summer
Back in March, a report from Estadio Deportivo (h/t The Shields Gazette) had claimed that Newcastle United were interested in securing the services of centre-back Koray Gunter, who was then plying his trade with Hellas Verona, on loan from Genoa.
However, a move to Tyneside failed to materialise for the 26-year-old, who eventually joined Hellas Verona permanently in the summer on the back of a successful loan spell last season.
Newcastle went on to enjoy a successful summer window, with Jamal Lewis, Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, and Jeff Hendrick all coming through the door at St. James’ Park. However, Steve Bruce was unsuccessful in his attempts to add a new central defender to his squad.
Koray Gunter rose through the youth ranks of Borussia Dortmund and featured prominently for the club’s reserve team in the lower divisions. He made just one first-team appearance for his boyhood club before moving to Galatasaray in January 2014.
Gunter never really managed to establish himself as a regular starter for the Turkish giants, making 50 appearances in all competitions before moving to Italy with Genoa in 2018.
The 26-year-old was loaned out to fellow Serie A outfit Hellas Verona last summer after featuring only 15 times for Genoa during the 2018-19 season. Gunter started 31 league games for Verona in the following campaign and impressed as one of the mainstays of the club’s backline, helping them to a 9th-place finish in the Serie A.
Gunter has continued his rich vein of form this season after completing a permanent transfer to Verona, guiding his club to league victories over Roma and Udinese in September. He represented Turkey at the U-16 level before going on to feature for Germany across U-17, U-19, and U-20 levels.
Gunter would be a good long-term option for Newcastle
Newcastle conceded as many as 58 goals in the Premier League last season despite having several accomplished central defenders in their ranks. Hence, it wasn’t a big surprise when Steve Bruce made his intentions of bringing in defensive reinforcements very clear in the summer.
The acquisition of Jamal Lewis from Norwich has certainly provided a much-needed youthful boost to Newcastle’s backline. But the Magpies need to reshape their central defensive cavalry and move on some of the underachievers to make room for new arrivals.
Florian Lejeune was shipped out on loan in the summer but Bruce still has plenty of decisions to make on the futures of some of the existing players.
Fabian Schar, Federico Fernandez, and Ciaran Clark are all out of contract next summer, so they definitely need to start looking at the future. Moreover, the latter two are already 31, meaning the Magpies should line up some younger alternatives in the market.
Hence, Newcastle should make a renewed attempt to sign Koray Gunter next summer. The German centre-back has started to deliver on his potential at Hellas Verona after struggling for game time at Galatasaray and Dortmund. The 26-year-old has proven his credentials as a quality defender in the Serie A and looks more than capable of thriving in the Premier League.
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Koray Gunter still has several years remaining in his prime at 26 and would represent a handy option for Newcastle. It is a no-brainer that the Magpies need to start reshaping their backline with one eye on the future. Going back in the market for the Serie A star would make a lot of sense in footballing terms.