Newcastle United are believed to be prioritising a backline rebuild in the January transfer window with a trio of defenders on Eddie Howe's radar.
The Magpies have already conceded a Premier League worst of 34 goals in their opening 16 games this season - and that's even before taking on Liverpool and Manchester City in the space of the next five days.
Signing defenders next month is high on Howe's agenda - and NewcastleWorld understands a pair of internationals, as well as a Championship rising star are key targets.
French-based defender ‘offered’
Central defender Abdou Diallo is understood to have been offered to United next month, with the player's Paris Saint-Germain future uncertain.
However, one potential hurdle in the way of any deal is next month's Africa Cup of Nations, with French-born Diallo a regular call-up for Senegal since earlier this year.
Senegal's first game in the tournament is slated to be on January 10 against Zimbabwe, with the group stage ending on January 18.
The AFCON 2019 runners-up, should they progress, and Diallo could theoretically be involved in the tournament until February 6, when the final takes place in Yaounde's Olembe Stadium, Cameroon.
Championship rising star on radar
Another defender under serious consideration is said to be AFC Bournemouth's Lloyd Kelly.
The former England under-21 international has been a revelation for the Cherries this season, who are competing for an immediate return to the Premier League under ex-United midfielder Scott Parker.
His athleticism is seen as a key attribute for any new defensive recruit at United, who are set to consider shedding the likes of Federico Fernandez and Ciaran Clark in the winter window.
Howe’s Burnley links rekindled
While James Tarkowski is a player who would be open to the move, and is rated highly by the club, a move from relegation battle rivals Burnley in the January window would be unlikely, even though the player can leave Turf Moor for nothing in June.
The third player thought to be high on the agenda is Atletico Madrid and England full-back Kieran Trippier.
NewcastleWorld understands a deal could be struck for the former Burnley and Manchester City defender next month, with the player understood to be keen on a return to English football.
Howe signed Trippier for Burnley during his spell as boss in the North West.