Newcastle predicted to axe third player in January as £17.5m bid readied for World Cup star

Joe Willock and Matt Targett

A pundit thinks Newcastle United will sell left-back Matt Targett in the January transfer window, with a Croatia international set to arrive as his replacement.

Newcastle signed Targett on loan from Premier League rivals Aston Villa in January. That came after Steven Gerrard had brought in Lucas Digne as Targett’s successor for Villa.

Targett made 17 appearances for Newcastle in the second half of last season and did enough to earn a permanent switch to St James’ Park.

According to the Daily Mail, the full-back cost Newcastle between £12-15m. Eddie Howe had also improved his defensive ranks in January by landing Newcastle fan Dan Burn from Brighton.

And Burn was selected at left-back in most of Newcastle’s Premier League matches just before the current international break. This left Target’s game time reduced to either late substitute outings, or no appearances at all.

Burn is generally considered a centre-half, though. And pundit Noel Whelan reckons a top-class left-back will arrive at Newcastle in January, in the form of Borna Sosa.

When asked by Football Insider if a high-quality defender will be the priority for Newcastle this winter, Whelan said: “Yeah, for sure. That’s one area of the pitch they’ll look at and want to make a bit stronger.

Newcastle tipped to replace left-back

“They’ve got [Kieran] Trippier on the other side, who is a top-quality, international player.

“Dan Burn isn’t a natural option at left-back. Matt Targett has been consistent, but he hasn’t set the world alight.

“They need a box-to-box, more attacking full-back. If you’re Newcastle and sitting third in the league, you’ve got to always be in the market for someone like Sosa. [He] can be an upgrade on Targett or Burn.”

As per a recent report from German outlet Bild, Newcastle are preparing to join the pursuit for Stuttgart and Croatia star Sosa. They will face competition from Inter Milan and Atalanta for the 24-year-old, who played a full 90 minutes in Croatia’s World Cup opener against Morocco.

Newcastle hope to beat Inter and Atalanta to Sosa by launching a €20m (£17.5m) proposal for him. This is close to Stuttgart’s valuation and may see the transfer reach completion.

Matt Targett could follow Lascelles, Ritchie out of Newcastle

Targett might not be the only Newcastle man to leave in January. Earlier this month, former Hibernian striker Tam McManus tipped Newcastle to let Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie go.

“It’s a natural evolution, the guys have been there for years. But if you want to get better in terms of your depth and quality then these are the decision you have to make,” McManus said.

“It’s brutal, Lascelles is the club captain and I don’t think there will be many fans who have anything to say against Ritchie but this is football.

“They aren’t playing. It’s better for them if they go and play somewhere else every week. We know who is getting a game for Newcastle and these guys can’t get in.

“Newcastle could get rid of two or three players who are there now and bring in some players who can actually challenge for these spaces. I think that is something they will look to do.”

Meanwhile, Man Utd and Newcastle’s moves for a Bundesliga attacker could see Wolves lose one of their own forwards, according to a report.