According to the Daily Mail, Newcastle are hoping to win the race for highly-rated Dundee centre-back Jack Hendry – with club scouts believed to have watched him in Dundee’s 1-0 defeat to Hibernian on Wednesday night.
The Mail’s Simon Jones claims that Newcastle, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Bournemouth are among the Premier League clubs to be keeping tabs on the 22-year-old, with a cash-strapped Dundee willing to sell for as little as £1.5m (Celtic have had a £500,000 bid rejected).
Hendry’s ball-playing style, good height (6ft 2′) and athleticism has earned him comparisons with Manchester City’s £47.5 million man John Stones – making him a very interesting prospect at a potentially low price.
He’s also gained big praise from Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, who had the following to say about the centre-half following his impressive display agains the Scottish champions earlier this season:
‘The boy Hendry at the back I thought was excellent,’
‘He’s quick and strong and is a good size.
‘Scotland need centre halves and that looks like a good kid. He’s tall, he can run and he can pass. He looks a talent.’
A centre-back is hardly a priority right now, but Benitez has always insisted that the club are looking at options in every area of the pitch – and a new defender may become necessary if the club do end up cashing in on Chancel Mbemba (something that looks likely given his lack of game time).
Due to the SPL being a considerably lower level to top flight football, there’s bound to be doubts over Hendry’s pedigree, however you just have to look at someone like Virgil Van Dijk. He shone at Celtic and is now one of the Premier League’s top defenders.
With Hendry drawing comparisons to John Stones, he could just be £1.5m well spent? One to watch perhaps..