Jonny Evans the Phlegmatic Choice for Newcastle

The first signing of the Steve McClaren era on Tyneside is set to be a controversial one as ex-Sunderland and Man United defender Jonny Evans, who was involved in a spitting incident with Papiss Cisse in a 1-0 Red Devils win in March, arrives to bolster the Magpies’ defence.

With 131 appearances, three Premier League titles, two League Cups and a rare FIFA Club World Cup medal in his locker for Manchester United, Evans brings top class experience and winning mentality into the St James’ Park dressing room.

Jonny Evans the Phlegmatic Choice for Newcastle

While his football pedigree is not in question, how well the signing of the ex-Sunderland man, who didn’t exactly cover himself in glory as he spat on Cisse then denied it, will go down with a Geordie fan base who have been screaming for new signings is another matter.

The 27 year-old Northern Ireland international was banned for six matches following his part in the incident between him and the Newcastle number nine whose seven-game ban almost cost his side their place in the Premier League.

Footballers are generally a realistic bunch who get on with the job and the Newcastle hierarchy will be banking on both players putting the recent past instantly behind them and uniting for the Newcastle cause — although Cisse has been linked with a move away from St. James’ Park.

Central defence is one of the key areas where Newcastle have looked to strengthen this summer with Club Captain Fabricio Coloccini, now 33, and Mike Williamson, 31, reaching the twilight years of their top flight careers. Evans joins experienced Geordie stopper Steven Taylor, 29. and new man Jamaal Lascelles, 21, who has arrived from his loan spell back at Nottingham Forest in the fight for places at the heart of what could be a new-look United back-line.

In acquiring a player like Evans, with 31 caps for his country, over 30 Champions League games for The Red Devils and the knowledge that Sir Alex Ferguson rated him very highly indeed, McClaren has used his Old Trafford contacts wisely. Newcastle are expected to unveil a flurry of signings this week ahead of their United States tour.