It has been a decent start to the 2020-21 season for Newcastle United, as they have already picked up three wins from their first eight fixtures. However, Steve Bruce and his team will be aware that the fixtures will be coming thick and fast after the international break as we head into the pivotal festive period where the teams that will be competing at both ends of the table will be determined.
January will present a chance for Bruce to add to his squad, but which defenders should be a priority for the manager if the club are to achieve their goals this season?
The Toon haven’t been good enough defensively this season, as they have already conceded 13 goals. However, they could target James Tarkowski in the January window to add more authority.
Burnley could be open to offers for the 27-year-old, as they will not want to risk losing the defender on a free transfer at the end of the campaign. Tarkowski has consistently been one of the best players for Burnley since they were promoted at the end of the 2015-16 season. The Magpies could face competition from a number of Premier League clubs, but he would certainly be the quality that the Toon needs to take them to the next level.
Newcastle could look to the Championship to get the best value in the winter market, and one of the most regarded defenders in that division is Chris Mepham. The 23-year-old has been in excellent form this season, as he has averaged 1.9 tackles per game and 1.8 interceptions per game. Mepham has international experience and will be looking to solidify his place in the Welsh national side ahead of the European Championships next summer.
Mepham was one of the standout players for Bournemouth in their relegation season, where he showed that he was good enough to play in the top-flight. However, where the Cherries will be willing to sell the talented defender halfway through the season when they are challenging for promotion remains to be seen.
The most straightforward deal that Newcastle could make during the January transfer window could be one for Phil Jones. Manchester United look to have made the Englishman surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, as he was left out of their Premier League squad for this season. Jones hasn’t been able to reach his potential at United despite Sir Alex Ferguson claiming that the central defender could be one of the best players in the history of the club during his final season.
However, Jones still could add a lot to one of the teams in the Premier League, and Newcastle could be the place where he could finally reach the level of potential that was expected of him during his Blackburn Rovers days. United will likely not demand a huge transfer fee, and Jones will be willing to move to another big club in the form of Newcastle.
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