Magpies linked with Essien
By Patrick Haond
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Magpies boss Sir Bobby Robson is scouring the transfer market in the search for a new defensive midfielder and, according to reports emanating from France, he is looking at Ghanaian international Essien.
The 20-year-old is regarded as one of the best young players in Europe and has attracted the interest of a host of clubs.
The Premiership side have considered a move for Bordeaux midfielder Alexei Smertin, but the Russian international is being priced out of a move to St James' Park.
Robson is keen to bolster his midfield with Gary Speed out injured and a defensive midfielder is his top priority as he bids to help the side's overworked defence.
Newcastle watched Essien in action in last weekend's clash with Monaco and Robson is weighing up making an offer for the African, but this would spark rival bids from all over the continent.
There have also been suggestions that Robson is considering a swoop for Atletico PR star Kleberson on a year's loan.
Leeds continue to stall in their protracted move for the Brazilian international, but Atletico would clearly prefer a cash deal.