Steve McClaren says Newcastle United could yet sign another defender – as plugging the club’s leaky defence is his No 1 priority.
The club let in 63 goals in the Premier League last season.
And head coach McClaren is looking for a significant improvement over the coming campaign, which kicks off on Sunday with a home game against Southampton.
Newcastle have already signed centre-half Chancel Mbemba from Anderlecht, and McClaren says the club is on the “lookout” between now and the end of the month when the transfer window closes.
McClaren said: “We’re always on the lookout – we’re always open to that.
“We’ve got the personnel, but we’re always searching for better. It’s one big area we’re looking at.”
We’re always on the lookout – we’re always open to that. We’ve got the personnel, but we’re always searching for better. It’s one big area we’re looking at.Steve McClaren
McClaren has been working intensively with the defenders he inherited in pre-season.
He said: “We know you can’t win anything with a bad defence. That’s one thing we’re trying to address.”
McClaren also suggested that long-serving defender Fabricio Coloccini – who missed the club’s entire pre-season campaign with an Achilles problem – will continue as captain.
Coloccini is a target for former United manager Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace, though Newcastle, as it stands, are unwilling to sell him.
McClaren, speaking on BBC Radio Newcastle, acknowledged the speculation about Palace’s interest in Coloccini had been “disruptive”, but he insisted that the 33-year-old – who has one year left on his contract – had pledged his allegiance to the club.
He said: “He’s the most experienced player, and my dealings with him have been tremendous.
“We’ve had long, long talks. From my understanding he wants to be here – this is the place he wants to be. He carries on.”
Meanwhile, versatile defender Paul Dummett – who has been sidelined with a hamstring problem – is pencilled in to return to full training on Monday.
Striker Emmanuel Riviere is back in training having recovered from a minor operation on his knee last month.
However, midfielder Remy Cabella (thigh) is yet to resume training.