The areas Newcastle United must strengthen in January amid ‘six’ transfers claim

The signings made in the January transfer window will be key to Newcastle United’s Premier League survival charge.

<p>Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe. </p>

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.

There was once a time when Newcastle United were the after-thought during transfer windows.

“Today is transfer deadline day, or as Newcastle supporters call it ‘Thursday’” was the joke that did the rounds every August and January.

Yet the PIF-backed takeover has thrust the Magpies front and centre of the transfer talk as Eddie Howe looks to boost his relegation-threatened squad during the second half of the Premier League season.

There is talk, but talk is cheap, and the transfer deals this January will be anything but as clubs look to take advantage of what is a desperate situation at St James Park.

The I have even reported that the Magpies are looking to sign up to six players this month, with the loan market expected to be used. But what are the key areas for Newcastle to target? Here we take a look:

Defensive priority

The main priority is as clear as can be with Howe looking to shore up a defence that has routinely leaked goals throughout the first half of the season.

The Magpies have conceded 42 goals in 19 games so far this season - a total only matched by bottom of the table Norwich City.

Reuniting Howe with Kieran Trippier is the main priority for the moment and talks are at an advanced stage according to sources at home and abroad.

The England star would provide his former Burnley manager with the energy and quality he relishes in his wing-backs and would give the Magpies an ideal start to a pivotal window.

A left-back is also being discussed with Jamal Lewis currently injured and Magpies mainstay Paul Dummett still making his way back from a long-term injury.

Newcastle have options at the heart of their defence with Jamaal Lascelles, Federico Fernandez, Ciaran Clark, Fabian Schar, Dummett and Emil Krafth all available to the United manager.

Five of the six players mentioned were signed by former manager Rafa Benitez and three of them featured in the side that won the Championship in 2017.

The other - Krafth - was signed by Benitez’s successor Steve Bruce, and the signing remains as debatable now as it was when it was made in the summer of 2019.

A move for Lille’s Dutch under-21 international Sven Botman is another priority for the Magpies and the highly-rated centre-back is seen as a foundation to build a new Newcastle upon.

He would be a statement signing with the 21-year-old linked with a number of elite clubs around Europe.

Manchester City’s Nathan Ake, Lyon’s Jason Denayer and Bayern Munich’s powerful centre-back Niklas Sule have also been mentioned as possible additions - but whoever comes in before in the of this month must improve a porous defence.

Striker issue

A striker was high on the agenda long before the injury suffered by top goalscorer Callum Wilson.

The former Bournemouth frontman has a goal record not too far short of one in every two appearances with the Magpies but he has been susceptible to injury during his two years on Tyneside.

Bringing in competition - not just cover - for Wilson should be a key move throughout the next four weeks.

That means two strikers could be brought in this month with Lyon frontman Moussa Dembele, Real Madrid’s Serbian international Luka Jovic and Brazilian star Gabriel Barbosa all linked with a move to Tyneside.

January is a crucial month on and off the pitch for Howe and club’s new ownership - what happens over the coming weeks could define the next decade at St James Park.