Newcastle transfer news: £18m defender emerges as 'top target' for Eddie Howe

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Newcastle United have identified Atletico Madrid defender Kieran Trippier as a ‘top target’ ahead of the upcoming January transfer window, according to Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie.

The 31-year-old has been heavily linked with a move back to English football in recent months after enjoying a successful two-and-a-half-year stint in La Liga, with talkSPORT’s Alex Crook suggesting on Twitter earlier this month that they were closing in on a deal.

What’s the latest with Trippier?

After playing a pivotal part in Atleti’s league title success last term, Trippier was at the centre of a lengthy transfer saga, with Manchester United keen to secure his services.

However, a deal could not be reached between the two clubs after the Spanish giants refused to compromise on the right-back’s hefty £34 million release clause.

Six months on, Trippier is once again attracting the attention of a host of Premier League clubs, with Everton, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Newcastle reportedly joining the Red Devils in the hunt for his signature.

And it’s arguably the Magpies who are most in need of the England international’s experience and added quality at the moment in time.

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The St. James’ Park outfit are currently embroiled deep in a relegation battle after winning just one of their opening 18 top-flight fixtures, leaving Howe’s charges three points from safety.

As a result, defensive reinforcements are being prioritised by the Newcastle hierarchy ahead of the winter window, and Downie has revealed Trippier is at the top of their wish-list.

What has Downie said about Trippier?

With the North East outfit boasting the worst defensive record in the Premier League at the halfway stage of the campaign, it’s little surprise to see them target a new full-back.

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Downie believes Trippier heads up Newcastle’s short-list of targets, although admits there’s still some work to do before he can be announced as Howe’s first signing.

He told GiveMeSport: “I certainly think he’s a top target, from what I’m hearing, for Eddie Howe. Whether they can get the deal done or not yet, there’s still a little bit of work to do.”

Would Trippier be an improvement?

Trippier has cultivated a reputation as one of Europe’s elite right-backs over the last few years, earning 35 caps for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions.

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Do you know this obscure Newcastle United footballer from the 2000s?

And when taking a closer look at his underlying numbers, it’s easy to understand why.

As per FBref.com, Trippier has recorded 7.84 progressive passes per 90 this term, 1.36 shot-creating actions, 12.2 pressures and 2.73 progressive carries.

Those figures better the returns of current options Emil Krafth and Javier Manquillo and illustrate why Newcastle are so determined to land the £18m-rated gem this winter.

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