Newcastle United were heading into the final days of the summer transfer window with the expectation of focusing on outgoings rather than adding to Eddie Howe’s squad.
Although the process of reducing the Magpies wage bill by allowing players to ply their trade elsewhere remains key, the injury suffered by defender Sven Botman in Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat against Liverpool could force the United hierarchy back into the transfer market.
Three permanent first-team signings have already been completed with Leicester City winger Harvey Barnes, Southampton full-back Tino Livramento and AC Milan midfielder Sandro Tonali joining at a combined cost believed to worth around £129million. Chelsea defender Lewis Hall has also moved to St James Park on a season-long loan deal that will be converted into a permanent switch next summer.
Allan Saint-Maximin and Karl Darlow have both left on permanent deals after completing moves to Saudi club Al Ahli and Leeds United respectively and a whole host of players have ventured elsewhere on season-long loan deals, including summer signing Yankuba Minteh and winger Ryan Fraser.
Long-serving midfielder Isaac Hayden was on the brink of joining Premier League new boys Luton Town on a season-long loan but that is believed have now collapsed and fellow midfielder Jeff Hendrick could also depart over the coming days if a suitable offer is received.
News is still awaited over the severity of Botman’s injury and a negative diagnosis would make a double impact on United’s transfer plans. Both Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Targett have received tentative interest over the last two weeks – but the defensive duo will now remain part of Howe’s squad if Botman is ruled out for a significant length of time.
Although the Magpies possess several players that can function comfortably at the heart of the defence, there could be a move into the market to add competition and further depth alongside the likes of Fabian Schar, Dan Burn and Lascelles – but where could Newcastle look to fill that void ahead of Friday night’s deadline?
Joachim Andersen – Crystal Palace
The Magpies are known admirers of the Danish international after he proved himself in the Premier League during a loan spell at Fulham and his two-year stay at Crystal Palace. Comfortable on the ball and dominant in the air, the 27-year-old would fit into Howe’s style of play – but it is likely the Magpies would find unwilling sellers in their Premier League rivals and that could mean a deal will remain out of reach.
Edmond Tapsoba – Bayer Leverkusen
Newcastle are not the only Premier League club to have watched the Burkino Faso international in action in recent years – nor are they the only club to have been impressed with what they have witnessed. The 24-year-old has made over 140 appearances for the Bundesliga club and has shown he can bring the ball out from the back and make incisive passes to cut through even the most disciplined of opposition. Again, and as with many of these options, the Magpies will remain wary of Financial Fair Play regulations and their close proximity to their limit, meaning some creative negotiation will be required to pull off a deal.
Goncalo Inacio – Sporting CP
Unquestionably one of the most highly-rated young centre-backs in European football and a player that could feature alongside Benfica’s Antonio Silva to form a wonderful centre-back partnership at international level for years to come. Portugal international Inacio is another name that has been linked with a number of Europe’s biggest clubs after impressing in domestic and European competition. Newcastle are among those to sit up and take notice and a deal won’t come cheaply.
Jean-Clair Todibo – Nice
The former Barcelona defender has quietly gone about his business to forge a reputation as one of Ligue 1’s most talented centre-backs. Todibo has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United in recent weeks but has also been watched with regularity by the Magpies recruitment staff. Again, as with many of these players, Todibo is comfortable on the ball and has an ability to play out from the back – but he also has pace about him, something that can be lacking in Newcastle’s backline.
Harry Maguire – Manchester United
Some will scoff at this suggestion after Maguire has made some high-profile errors that have been widely shown on social media. But he remains a trusted figure within the England setup and when he is ‘at it’ he is a more than capable Premier League centre-back. With experience at all levels of the game, Maguire would provide Howe with a ready-made option at the back. There are suggestions Manchester United could allow him to depart on loan – although how much of his wage they would need covered could be the deal-breaker for this one, and a recent injury to starting centre-back Raphael Varane makes Maguire’s exit more unlikely.