Newcastle United have joined the race to land Arsenal target Godfrey Oboabona and are reportedly favourites to sign the defender in the summer. Arsenal offered the 22-year-old a trial last month before a potential move to the Emirates from his present club, Sunshine Stars.
The Metro reported the Gunners decided against offering the player a deal but were still keeping tabs on his progress by sending scouts to watch him at games. Oboabona is believed to have interested Arsenal as a replacement for Johan Djourou, who is on loan at Hannover 96.
The report states the player's agent is offering him across Europe and this has sparked interest from Ligue 1, where Lille and Rennes are reported to be interested in signing the player. The Nigerian, who has 16 caps for his country, is likely to be a major asset to any side; he is capable of playing at centre-back and also as a defensive midfielder if the need arises.
Newcastle are likely to lose captain Fabricio Coloccini beyond this season. The Argentine centre-back will probably renew his requests to leave St James Park in the summer, following protracted winter negotiations over a possible move to San Lorenzo in mid-season.
The Magpies are 16th in the Premier League this season, with 37 points from 34 games. Alan Pardew knows he has a fight on his hand to ensure top flight survival, with Wigan, who head the drop zone, only six points behind. Newcastle play West Ham, at Upton Park, on 5 May, before travelling to Loftus Road to play QPR on 12 May.
Koscielny on Defensive Abilities
Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny believes a defensive duel between a striker brings the best out of him. The France international has been in good form since his reinstatement in the Arsenal starting line-up, with the Gunners unbeaten since Koscielny and Per Mertesacker took over at the back.
"I need to have duels and win them. It's better for my game because I am more confident, I can take little risks with passes and feel better and better during the game. The boss is right with this. Now it's up to me to keep this all the time. I'm in a good position because I'm fit and I'm confident," he told Arsenal's official Web site.
The Gunners face a must-win game against Manchester United at the Emirates on Sunday. A defeat could seriously harm their bid for a top four finish, particularly if Chelsea and Tottenham win their respective games.
"I think every player wants to finish high up in the table. I will give everything for the squad to finish in the Champions League places," Koscielny added.