In-demand Santon’s settled with Newcastle United

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DAVIDE Santon is settled at Newcastle United – despite reported interest from Napoli, writes MILES STARFORTH.

The Serie A club’s manager, Rafa Benitez, worked with Santon during his time at Inter Milan.

Chelsea have also been linked with a move for the 22-year-old defender, with Stamford Bridge manager Jose Mourinho also managing Santon during his spell in charge at the San Siro.

But Santon, now in his third season on Tyneside, is not understood to be eyeing a move away from St James’s Park, despite the lure of Champions League football.

The Italy international’s partner is from the North East, and their daughter, Sienna, was born on Tyneside, where he spent much of the summer. And a friend of Santon said: “Davide’s really happy here.

“He loves it at Newcastle, and loves life in the Premier League. He is keen to play out the next two years of his contract here at least.”

Santon spoke of the debt he owes Mourinho before Chelsea’s visit to St James’s Park earlier this month.

“I always said he was an amazing manager,” he said. “It is good for the Premier League that he’s back (at Chelsea).

“He gave me the chance to play, and I always have to say thank you to him, but I will be trying to play against him and beat him now.”

Right-footed Santon – who has won eight Italy caps – is Newcastle’s first-choice left back.

However, he is under pressure from 22-year-old Paul Dummett this season.

Dummett – who signed a new long-term contract earlier this month – should be available for Saturday’s home game against Norwich City after recovering from a hamstring problem.

Manager Alan Pardew – who signed Santon in the summer of 2011 – will have to make one enforced change to a defence which kept clean sheets in the victories over Chelsea and Tottenham.

Right-back Mathieu Debuchy is suspended, and Pardew is expected to bring fit-again captain Fabricio Coloccini into a reshuffled back four.

Meanwhile, the Norwich game will be refereed by Merseyside-based Mike Dean, who also officiated Newcastle’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa earlier this season.