Exclusive - Eddie Howe is considering making some of his former Bournemouth players top transfer targets for Newcastle United in January, 90min has been told.
As new Magpies boss, Howe has been promised funds by the club’s new owners and he will be helped in recruiting players by a new Sporting Director, who is due to be appointed.
But Howe is already busy planning for additions in January and it is believed that every position is being looked at to strengthen the squad, from goalkeeper to striker.
However, defenders and midfielders look to be his priority, and that is clear by some of the early names on his wanted list, which includes several players he managed at Bournemouth.
90min has been told that Nathan Ake, who has since moved on to Manchester City, as well as current Cherries players Lloyd Kelly and Jefferson Lerma are among his main targets. It comes as little surprise as Howe will want faces he can trust and knows can make an immediate impact
Howe is obviously very familiar with Ake, Kelly and Lerma as he splashed out a combined £63m to sign the trio during his time at the Vitality Stadium.
Colombian international Lerma is Bournemouth and Howe’s record signing after they paid Levante £25m for his signature in 2018. Now a proven performer in England, a move back to the Premier League up from the Championship is a likely appeal and he would add some real steel and presence to Newcastle’s midfield engine room, which has been lacking this season.
The likes of Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff have been featuring in recent weeks in the centre of midfield, but it remains to be seen whether Howe sees a future for them.
Newcastle are also been kept informed about Aaron Ramsey, currently at Juventus, Chelsea's Ross Barkley and Jesse Lingard at Manchester United. All three internationals do not have long-term futures at their respective current clubs.
Howe is also understand to also want additional cover in central defence and Newcastle’s scouts and new owners had been looking at a deal for Burnley’s James Tarkowski. The England international is out-of-contract at the end of the season and is set to leave Turf Moor, but despite their money is looks unlikely at this stage that the Clarets would sell to a potential relegation rival.
The expectation of missing out on Tarkowski, for now at least, is why Howe is specifically looking at Ake and Kelly.
Howe signed Ake from Chelsea for £20m in 2017 and despite a few raised eyebrows he shone for the Cherries, and they doubled their money on him when they sold him to Manchester City for more than £40m in 2020.
However, the Netherlands international has found his chances at City extremely limited and has played in just 13 league games for the club since moving 18 months ago.
26-year-old Ake is believed to be keen on first-team football as he has his eyes on a World Cup place with his national team, so he is one who Howe believes could be attainable - although it remains to be seen which clubs in the Premier League are willing to deal with Newcastle.
90min understands that reports that some clubs have discussed a collective pact not to sell to Newcastle are accurate, but it remains to be seen if they would abide by it.
If Ake proves to be unavailable, Kelly is another defender Howe likes a lot, having initially snapped him for Bournemouth from Bristol City for £13m in 2019.
The 23-year-old enjoyed playing under Howe, and a move for him has been looked at by Newcastle officials - but again with Bournemouth locked in a promotion battle under Scott Parker - it may not be easy to persuade them to sell at this stage.
Newcastle, who are hoping to appoint a Sporting Director soon, are looking at a host of targets domestically and abroad, and they would be not adverse to bring in more than a half a dozen players if required in January as they battle relegation.