Newcastle have been linked with a January approach for out of favour Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti as part of squad strengthening they hope will keep them in the Premier League.
Newcastle’s final game of the calendar year has been postponed, meaning they will begin 2022 in the relegation zone, two points from safety.
The Magpies have lofty long-term ambitions under new Saudi Arabian ownership, but the short-term priority is to strengthen sufficiently in January to stay in the top flight – 90min has previously revealed that two transfer shortlists have been drawn up for now and the summer.
Newcastle are ultimately looking to bring in as many as six players next month, two of which they hope to be loans from other Premier League clubs - the maximum permitted.
Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Manuel Lanzini, Dele Alli, Divock Origi and Nathan Ake have all been considered, while they have also asked Manchester United about Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek and Phil Jones.
Additional enquiries have been made to manager Eddie Howe’s former club Bournemouth.
Newcastle have been keeping tabs on Lille centre-back Sven Botman, although 90min understands the Dutch defender is unsure about leaving in January owing to his club’s recent progress into the last 16 of the Champions League. He also has an eye on a place in Netherlands’ 2022 World Cup squad and so needs his next move to be the right one for his career.
Plenty of players currently see Newcastle as a risk in the short-term as a result of uncertainty over their Premier League status.
Umtiti has been linked with a move to St James’ Park by Spanish publication Marca, suggesting Newcastle could pay £17m for the 2018 World Cup winner.
Since finally overcoming his most recent knee injury last December, Umtiti has been a fringe player at Camp Nou. He has spent most of the last year as an unused substitute and has made only one appearance – 90 minutes in a recent draw against Osasuna – so far this season.
The Frenchman’s wages are an unnecessary financial drain on Barcelona while he is so out of favour and SPORT remarked earlier this week that the club will ‘try everything’ to offload both he and Philippe Coutinho before the January transfer window closes.