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Alan Pardew's need to recruit a defender who possesses pace was heightened after his side's 5-2 drubbing at the hands of Fulham on Saturday

By Rob Stewart

Newcastle United are preparing to make a £3 million move for Watford centre-half Adrian Mariappa as Magpies boss Alan Pardew attempts to tackle the defensive deficiencies that are threatening the Tyneside club’s push for European football.

The need for Pardew to inject extra pace into his defence was underlined during the 5-2 defeat by Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday, and Goal.com can confirm that the 25-year-old Mariappa could be on his way up to Newcastle this month.

Mariappa has come through the ranks at Vicarage Road and is seen to possess the pace that Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson, as well as injured team-mate Steven Taylor, clearly lack.

Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen and Montpellier’s Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa are also on the radar at the Sports Direct Arena but Newcastle’s interest will be stepped up in the summer.

The lure of European football would strengthen Newcastle’s hand as they try to recruit new players in the summer transfer window but Pardew’s Premier League peers will have taken note of the way his defence were run ragged in the second half at Craven Cottage.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has given the green light for Pardew to bring in defensive reinforcements, knowing that Europa League football is a reasonable target for his club.

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