Newcastle manager Eddie Howe is eager to strengthen his defensive options in the summer and is poised to step up his interest in Everton defender Ben Godfrey
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The Magpies have given themselves some breathing space in the relegation battle with a good run of form since January. And with Premier League football all but certainly on the cards next time out, thoughts are now being turned to recruitment in the summer.
Godfrey is understood to figure highly on the Toon’s wanted list with Howe a big fan of the 24-year-old England international, who Everton signed from Norwich City for £25million in October 2020.
The England defender impressed against Newcastle on Thursday in Everton’s 1-0 win, and his versatility and potential means he could be a very good addition to the squad on Tyneside. If Everton fail to beat the drop then they will struggle to keep hold of Godfrey. Although the wages on offer at Newcastle will make any potential move from the north-west to the north-east an attractive proposition either way.
Newcastle looked at a move for Godfrey in January and are expected to have a look to see if a deal can be resurrected at the end of the season. Howe acknowledged last month that he was able to secure the majority of the targets he wanted in January after the club spent £93m on new players.
Howe brought in Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes for £40m from French club Lyon while striker Chris Wood made a £25m switch from fellow Premier League side Burnley. Kieran Trippier moved to St James’ Park for £15m from Spanish champions Atletico Madrid with Brighton were persuaded to sell Dan Burn for £13m. Matt Targett also joined Newcastle on loan from Aston Villa.
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“We were happy with the window. Nothing is ever perfect, but we identified players and areas of the team we wanted to strengthen, and I felt coming out of the window we’ve got a stronger squad than when we went into it, so I was really pleased with our business,” Howe told Sky Sports in February.
“The most important thing is the mentality of the players we brought in, they’re top professionals, very, very good characters and they wanted to come for the right reasons: football and the challenge with our league position.
“That was a really important thing for us, we didn’t want to bring anyone in that destabilised the group or disrupted the excellent spirit we’re building internally. I think we’ve done that.”
Howe acknowledged the importance of any new signings being able to adjust to Newcastle’s style of play which he has worked hard to implement since he took over from Steve Bruce.
He added: “On the pitch, I’d say we’ve worked incredibly hard on our defensive shape and our out-of-possession play has taken priority over everything.
“I think if you have a firm foundation to the team, you can then build other aspects on that. That’s taken our main body of work but we have tried to mould our philosophy into every aspect of the team.”
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