Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie has dropped a major update on Newcastle United’s plans for the rest of the January transfer window.
Speaking live on Sky Sports News at 16:05pm on Thursday afternoon, he said: “Hugo Ekitike is a player that Newcastle like, and is a player that Eddie Howe likes. Is he the sort of player that could go straight into the Newcastle first-team? There’s question marks over that.
“Ekitike is still a deal that could potentially happen between now and the closure of the window, but the necessity of getting the Frenchman in has been slightly subsided by the fact Chris Wood has arrived.
“It feels very much that the priority right now is, with Wood and Trippier through the door, is to bring in a central defender. Newcastle had been left to the bare bones in the FA Cup on Saturday, they had just the two centre-backs to choose from. I think at the start of the week we felt they would try and get a defender in by the weekend, they certainly have been pushing behind the scenes. They’ll push for that centre-back over the weekend and into next week.”
How quickly things can change in the space of a week.
After falling to a shock defeat in the FA Cup against lower league Cambridge United, Newcastle moved swiftly to address their striking concerns by snapping up Chris Wood from relegation rivals Burnley.
Now, Downie’s update that the Magpies have firmly turned their attentions towards signing a new central defender in the very near future should surely be music to the ears of supporters.
While landing Ekitike would certainly add to Eddie Howe’s attacking options even more following Wood’s arrival, it certainly makes sense for the Tyneside club to put all their eggs into the central defensive basket.
With the second-worst defensive record in the division, bringing in a top-quality centre-back could go a long way to solidifying Newcastle’s spine for the second-half of the Premier League campaign.
The club’s fans will surely be excited at not only seeing their club move fast in addressing their priorities, but also at how soon they could bring someone in too.