New Telegraph

Newcastle United Join Liverpool, AC Milan In ‘Race’ £60m Defender

Newcastle United’s recent Champions League disaster has amplified the need for further squad depth and improvement particularly in the centre back area where the club have struggled with since the loss of Sven Botman due to injury.

The former Lille man was imperative to N ewcastle’s Champions League qualification last term as the club also reached their first cup final in 24 years.

Botman’s performances helped Newcastlerecord their best defensive statistics conceding just 33 goals from 38 matches in a feat only matched by treble winners Manchester City.

Club captain Jamaal Lascelles has stepped up in Botman’s absence and proven his worth alongside Fabian Schar.

But the strenuous demand of Newcastle’s fixture list and the lack of squad depth behind the pair has become a cause for concern, particularly in the last Premier League match against Tottenham as both played the full 90 minutes despite receiving on the field treatment for knocks.

With all that in mind, it appears increasingly likely that Eddie Howe will make a defender his primary target in the winter window.

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One player who appears to have caught the eyes of the Newcastle scouting team is 21-year-old defender Piero Hincapie.

Reports from Germany reveals that Newcastle have joined the race to sign the Bayer Leverkusen centre back alongside the likes of Liverpool, AS Roma and AC Milan.

Hincapie is a talented central defender who has already represented Ecuador on 30 occasions, including three times at last winter’s World Cup in Qatar. His primary position is centre back, although, like Dan Burn he can offer support at left back when called upon.

Hincapie 21, has made 64 league appearances for Leverkusen since making the move to the BayArena and has helped the club to third and sixth place finishes.

He has been a key member of Xabi Alonso’s team since his arrival and is currently a part of a high-flying team which has won 11 and drawn three of their opening 14 games giving them a four point gap on Bayern Munich in the club’s best ever league start.

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