Newcastle’s four-man shortlist with transfer targets wary of ‘deterrent’ under Eddie Howe

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Eddie Howe has reportedly drawn up a four-man shortlist of targets for the January transfer window, but Newcastle’s league position has left some players wary of joining the Magpies. The Toon are second bottom of the Premier League having won just one game all season.

Their dreadful form has put them at serious risk of relegation down to the Championship, though they are only three points from safety.

Watford currently occupy 17th place in the top-flight, but do have the chance to pull away from Newcastle having played two games less.

Recent performances have shown little sign that Howe’s current group of players have the required quality to secure survival.

That makes the upcoming January transfer window crucial to the club’s plans to become a force in the Premier League.

A takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund fuelled hope that the Magpies could replicate the rise of Manchester City, who were themselves bought by a mega-rich Gulf state.

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But Howe has failed to drag his side out of the relegation scrap they became embroiled in under Steve Bruce.

The Englishman will be desperate to boost his squad next month, and, according to the Daily Mail, has already drawn up a shortlist of four players.

It is stated that Howe is finding it hard to convince targets to move to St James’ Park, with the threat of relegation acting as a ‘deterrent’ to many potential signings.

As a result, the Magpies are turning their focus to making loan moves containing an option to buy if they are able to make a ‘Great Escape’.

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At the top of Howe’s shopping list is said to be Lyon star Moussa Dembele, who has previously starred for Celtic and Fulham.

He was sent on loan to Atletico Madrid last season, but an injury-affected campaign saw him make just seven appearances for the La Liga champions.

Atletico turned down the chance to sign him permanently, with the Frenchman returning to Lyon, where he scored four goals in five games to start the current season.

With his contract expiring in the summer of 2023, Lyon are said to be ‘open’ to selling Dembele if a suitable offer is submitted.

While Howe is targeting a new striker, the Newcastle boss is also understood to be keen to improve his defence, with the Magpies having conceded more goals than any other Premier League side.

Defensive issues are plaguing Howe’s side, with Newcastle understood to be lining up moves for three stars to help to solve them.

Everton outcast Lucas Digne and England international Kieran Trippier are both on Howe’s shortlist, though the chances that either will sign are unknown.

The final man on Howe’s shopping list is centre-back Sven Botman, who won Ligue 1 with Lille last season and has been attracting interest from Liverpool.

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